The NFL Season Stole My Man

Chicago Tribune’s RedEye September 7, 2011

I view the up-coming autumn with an increasing sense of dread. The air grows ominously cooler, Starbucks has pumpkin flavored coffee, and annoyingly cute couples make plans to go apple picking. Why does my dread grow as crunchy, multi-colored leaves start to pile up? Because it’s the time of year when my husband disappears.

Yes, I am an NFL widow.

I join the ranks of wives, girlfriends, and significant others who find themselves unceremoniously dumped during football season. My husband (and perhaps yours) loves football. He loves talking about it, watching it, and high-fiving over it.

And it isn’t just Sundays anymore. I’ve lost him to Monday nights, Thursday nights (after Thanksgiving), Madden ’12, and the most hated of all football enterprises: fantasy football leagues.

I tried. I really did. I tried to tell apart the Manning brothers. I tried to be interested in the draft and decipher the one point safety from the two point safety, but it wasn’t for me. By the time the third quarter came around, I was bored out of my mind and trying to lure him away from Tom Brady with promises of sex and cookies.

But, fellow NFL widows, that really wasn’t fair of me.

My epiphany came after a particularly unwholesome episode of “Jersey Shore.” I glanced over at my husband to see if his face was filled with the same shock as mine during the latest Ronnie vs. Sammi Sweetheart blow up. Instead of outraged, he looked about half way to a nap. I recognized the expression immediately. It was the same glazed-eyes look I adopt when football is on.

I realized then that just like it isn’t fair of me to try to sabotage his football Sundays, it isn’t fair of him to bemoan the occasional hijacking of the TV and Netflix queue to wallow in my love of trashy reality shows. I can’t expect him to develop an intense, consuming love of “America’s Next Top Model” just like he can’t expect me to sit through ten hours a week watching tackle after tackle.

As the Bears take the field this weekend, let’s make a deal, hubby. I won’t ask you who you think is going to Fashion Week on “Project Runway” and you can stop trying to explain why it’s really important that the Bears extend Briggs’ contract.

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