Ben on the Bolts: 5 things I miss about football season

Good news! This will be our final week of 2014 without football. The Chargers and other NFL teams begin training camp next week, and we’ll have some sort of pigskin to satisfy our craving through the Super Bowl in early February. With that I mind, I’ve come up with five of the things I’ve missed most about football during these past six months of deprivation.

1) Sunday morning at 10am – How do fans on the East Coast wait until 1pm to get their football fix? I don’t think I could do it. By the time I get a little extra sleep and have my first cup of coffee, I’m just about ready for the games to start. There are plenty of reasons why the West Coast is the best coast, and Sunday morning football is near the top of the list for me.

2) The rhythm of game week – I’ve always marveled at the guy (Abner Doubleday?) who came up with 90 feet between bases on the baseball diamond. It’s the perfect distance that leads to close calls, and forces the defense to field the ball cleanly in order to make an out. I’m not sure the sport would work if the distance was changed to 85 feet or 95 feet. NFL game week is similar. It’s just long enough to give us time to get excited for each game, discuss the opponent, play the game, spend a couple of days going over what we saw, and then get ready to do it all over again. For a sports talk radio host, the NFL season is built to perfection.

3) The smell of carne asada in the Q parking lot – I think carne asada on the grill may be my favorite scent on the planet, and I’m not sure there’s a higher concentration of that mouth-watering smell than in the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot around 11:30am on a Chargers game day. You can’t walk 20 feet without finding another grill, and about 60 percent of them are cooking up the carne.

4) NFL tiebreaker scenarios – This doesn’t really come into play until later in the season, but if you know me, you know how much I enjoy looking at the NFL standings on a Sunday night and figuring out exactly what the Chargers need to happen next week to stay alive/improve their chances/get into the playoffs.

Twice in the past six seasons (2008 and 2013) the Bolts have overcome incredible odds to reach the postseason. In the NFL, you always have a pulse until the tiebreakers say you’re out.

5) The victorious run to the locker room – When I’m covering a game at the Q, I always head down to the corner of the field by the Chargers’ tunnel in the final two minutes. When they win, I get to see the joyful, satisfied, fired up expressions of players and coaches as they run back in to the winning locker room. It’s one of the great pleasures of my job—seeing a bunch of tough guys come together as a team and accomplish a goal. Many fans rush down to the corner as well, because players will often throw their game-used gloves into the stands as souvenirs before disappearing into the tunnel.

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