By Mike Pound

Globe columnist

mpound@joplinglobe.com





The problem is it stops so suddenly.

One Sunday you’re deep in NFL football and the next Sunday it’s gone.

Sure, football will return next week. But what’s that, really? A last desperate dose of methadone to a heroin-starved addict. OK, maybe the heroin comparison is a little strong, but you get my point.

For football fans, the Sunday before the Super Bowl is the worst day of the year. At noon tomorrow, men all over the country will wander into their TV rooms and, out of habit, turn on the TV. Since it’s been a week since the men turned on their TVs, they will have to switch from the Disney Channel, or the Food Channel or that channel where people talk about wallpaper and grout to get to one of the football channels. When they get to the football channels, instead of finding football, they will find infomercials about a machine that steams, bakes and grills meats and clothes at the same time

By the way, am I the only person who is tempted to toss a shoe — or a couch — into my TV screen whenever I zip through the dial and find the same infomercial airing on two or more channels?

I didn’t think so.

When football fans find infomercials, instead of football, on their football channels, reality will slap them right in the face like it does to Kansas City Royals fans on Opening Day.

They will be disappointed is what I’m saying.

Sure the Super Bowl is next week, so it’s not as if the football season is over yet, but the end is nigh (I’ve always wanted to say that). Football fans know that after the Super Bowl, their days of ignoring their families will be over. I know what some football fans out there are saying. They are saying: “Oh yeah? What about the NFL Pro Bowl?”

To those football fans, I ask only this in response: Does that crack you are smoking go down smooth or does it burn a little?

The NFL Pro Bowl game is not a football game. I would call the NFL Pro Bowl a game of touch football but that would be an insult to everyone who has ever played touch football. The NFL Pro Bowl game is a way for the NFL to air all the leftover TV commercials that they didn’t get to air in the Super Bowl. It’s also a chance for TV announcers to wear Hawaiian shirts and stage a “who can look goofiest” contest while ignoring the fact that no one, including the players, actually cares what happens on the field.

But that’s just me.

So really, the Super Bowl is the last gasp for football fans much like a last gasp of fresh air for trapped minors. OK, maybe the trapped minors comparison is a little strong but, again, you get my point.

All of this makes this Sunday all the more depressing for football fans. It’s a precursor of what is just around the corner: Sunday afternoons devoid of football games and truck commercials. No longer will a football fan be able to spend upward of 12 hours parked on the couch, leaving an indentation on the cushion so large that the family cat will later jump up onto the couch and get lost for two weeks.

How football fans handle tomorrow’s disappointment will go a long way toward determining how they will handle the rest of the winter. Will they crawl into a fetal position and sob like a Fox News anchor last Tuesday? Or will he man-up, make the best of a bad situation and dial up the NHL All-Star Game?

I’m guessing football fans better stock up on Kleenex.

I mean, have you seen a hockey game?

At least with the NFL Pro Bowl there are hula girls and cheerleaders to watch.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hockey cheerleader. But if I ever did, I’m guessing she would be missing some teeth.

So, if you are the spouse of a football fan, I urge you to be considerate of your mate’s feelings tomorrow. I suggest that you allow your spouse to ease into his football-less Sundays.

For example, tomorrow I would just introduce him to one of your children. There will be plenty of time later for him to meet the other kids.

Like, maybe during an infomercial.

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