Seventy-seven reasons I'm thankful for the NFL

In no particular order ...

77. Receivers who block like their paycheck depended on it.
76. Sports bars that have multiple games on, in HD.
75. Jaxson De Ville.
74. That Terrell Owens(notes), for all the (self-created) distractions in his career, is still killing it at the age of 36.
73. Whoever decided that buffalo wings were the food to be served on Sundays at sports bars.
72. Teams that have resisted the urge to put black on their uniforms.
71. That instant when Chris Johnson senses daylight.
70. Coaches who actually say what's on their mind, like Rex Ryan or Mike Singletary.
69. Miles Austin(notes).
68. That Tom Brady's(notes) hair has outgrown the Bieber phase.
67. Dwight Freeney's(notes) longevity.
66. Jerseys. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you're too old to wear a jersey on gameday.
65. "Playoffs?!"
64. That fantasy football can help keep far away people a little closer together.
63. That there's no one out there who can cover Andre Johnson(notes) by themselves.
62. The magical yellow first-down line.
61. Offensive Linemen catching touchdown passes.
60. James Harrison's(notes) ferocity.
59. Joe Buck. Because there's a place for loud and excitable, but there's also a place for letting the action speak for itself.
58. That Seattle's Mike Williams, against overwhelming odds, swallowed his pride, put in the work, and made himself a fine NFL receiver.
57. Players wearing microphones.
56. The insane flood of information surrounding the NFL Draft, 90% of which is worthless, and that we still keep doing it, year after year.
55. Forty-yard frozen ropes.
54. Ndamukong Suh's(notes) quarterback-killing future.
53. Madden.
52. Michael Irvin, the best studio analyst in the business.
51. During kickoffs on windy days, someone still has to hold the football with their finger; and I always wonder what would happen if that person pulled it away, Lucy and Charlie Brown-style.
50. Clay Matthews'(notes) tenacity.

49. That people still reference Willie Beamen whenever someone throws up.
48. That the Super Bowl, in our lifetimes, has an outside chance of becoming a national holiday.
47. "You PLAY to win the GAME."
46. Drew Brees'(notes) sincerity.
45. Striking up NFL conversations with random strangers.
44. Pink accessories for Breast Cancer Awareness.
43. The UFL. I don't ever watch it, but it's comforting to know that it's there.
42. Adrian Peterson's rare combination of speed and power.
41. When a long-downtrodden team finally starts to see signs of life, i.e. the 2010 Cleveland Browns.
40. Troy Polamalu's(notes) energy.
39. The NFL Network putting Joe Theismann and Matt Millen together in a broadcast booth, which has to be an elaborate prank on all of us.
38. That Michael Vick(notes), no matter how circuitous the route, is finally reaching his potential.
37. That there are ways to maintain an interest in otherwise uninteresting football games, like fantasy football or other things.
36. Coors Light fake press conferences.
35. Ed Hochuli's pipes.
34. That it's perfectly acceptable to wear a stupid plastic gladiator costume to an NFL game. If you're a Raiders fan.
33. That no one ever changed Philip Rivers'(notes) bizarre throwing motion.
32. NFL Films.
31. The music in old NFL Films clips.
30. That Buffalo is so excited about Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes). It's cute.
29. That marching bands are not a major part of NFL entertainment. Sorry, I've just never been into marching bands.
28. Jeff Fisher's mustache.
27. The rules to protect quarterbacks. I know a lot of you disagree, but I prefer seeing Peyton Manning(notes) to seeing Curtis Painter(notes). That's just me.
26. Maurice Jones-Drew's(notes) powder keg body.
25. Zubaz. Long out of style, yes, but spotting the occasional pair never fails to brighten a day.
24. Kickers and punters trying to make tackles.
23. Sam Bradford's(notes) potential.
22. Mike Mayock.
21. That someone out there drafted Kyle Orton(notes), Arian Foster(notes) and Brandon Lloyd(notes) in the mid-to-late rounds of their fantasy draft.
20. Tom Brady, whose only apparent flaw is that he doesn't play for your team.
19. In-person fantasy football drafts. Tell me it isn't one of your ten favorite days of the year.
18. Bill Belichick's fierce emphasis on comfort over fashion.
17. If the commissioners of all major American sports were to fight, I think ours would win.
16. That Mike Tolbert(notes) runs like the Kool-Aid Man.
15. That every second of the NFL Combine is televised.
14. Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback.
13. Wondering what Peyton Manning saw that made him call that fourth audible.
12. Championship Sunday, the most underrated sports day of the year.
11. The countless charitable things done by NFL players.
10. Movin' the Chains with Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan.
9. Twitter, which is invaluable if you can't (or even if you can) be in front of multiple TVs on Sundays.
8. Football Follies.
7. Rich Eisen's high level of likeability. I don't know how he does it, but I just want to hug that guy.
6. The uniqueness of Antonio Gates(notes).
5. Throwback uniforms.
4. That it's roughly as difficult to sack Ben Roethlisberger(notes) as it is to sack the Washington Monument.
3. Hard Knocks on HBO.
2. Dez Bryant(notes). So polished, so early. I see no ceiling to his potential.
1. That it's socially acceptable to spend all day on Thanksgiving watching professional football.

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