The dust has barely settled on the Super Bowl, and the NFL combine has played out for fans who can't lap up enough football news.
On deck in March is the start of the free-agency signing period, which will spark even more interest during what is supposedly the "offseason."
Then comes the granddaddy of them all - the NFL draft. What used to be a one-day affair held on a Tuesday has grown into a monstrosity that has made household names out of people like Mel Kiper Jr. and others in the cottage industry surrounding the draft.
Skeptics will say the offseason is an overblown, hype job staged by the NFL to drown out the start of the Major League Baseball season and, to a lesser extent, March Madness. They'll point to the three-day extravaganza that is the draft and the bar-room-like scene that plays out by fans at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Everybody is an expert. Armed with a stack of pre-draft publications, fans instantly morph into their versions of Kiper. Instant evaluations are made on prospects before they've had a chance to be fitted for a helmet or, in some cases, be arrested for the first time.
The intensity in which some fans dive into the draft can be absurd. Ask a guy his anniversary date and you might get a blank stare. Ask him about a favorite prospect and you might get: "Explosive off the line; 4-5 40; 6.5 in the 3-cone drill; 20 reps at 225; 40.5 vertical leap."
There's also a language you need to know if you dare join the zealots. "Bubble" isn't that cool box stuffing you can snap with your fingers. It's the size of the guy's butt. Good bubble means something to scouts that I really don't care to know.
There are "space" players, which has nothing to do with NASA. There are "tweeners" or players that could play one of two positions, which usually means they'll bomb at whatever choice is made.
Then you have to get your techniques down properly. What draft fanatic wouldn't know a good 3-technique tackle from a zero technique? If you don't know the difference, go watch a baseball game.
I've often wondered how scouts would gauge me after one look at my beautifully sculpted body. I'd like to think super blue-chipper, but I'm OK with just blue-chipper.
I could see a scouting report on me that might read: "Waist-bend: hurts when he does it. Light in the pegs (skinny legs) and no loose hips (don't call this guy Elvis)."
It might be better if I stick to reporting, where a good scouting report would read: "Fast fingers (types rapidly) and closes well (meets deadline).
Be prepared for what's coming in the next two months. By the time May arrives you will have seen enough of Kiper and other so-called draft experts to last until at least the first OTA (offseason training activity).
The OTAs should carry you to the minicamp in June, which will take you into that dangerous territory that is the real offseason. It's not a pretty place. No practices; no draft; no free agency; no life.
You wonder how a man can exist without an occasional OTA. Quickly you find relief.
Hello, Canadian Football League.