March Madness: Surviving the lonely months without the NFL

(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

To start things off, let’s be completely honest with ourselves. The NFL never really stops. From the combine to free agency to the draft and so on, we’re always hungry for consuming content about our favorite sport. But, there are points where those glorious Sundays in September seem painfully far away. Like right now.

We’re currently adrift in this sea of nothingness that is pre-free agency. Sure, there are rumors stirring about. After free agency opens next Tuesday there should be a flurry of news to get us excited about football again. Yet, March is one of the longest months without football. First off, there are 31 days. And for the teams not making splashes in free agency, there is not much to get excited about during any of those days. Aside from the over-abundance of “NEW” mock drafts and Tim Tebow trade rumors, it’s a dire time for football fans. So, in honor of the NCAA tournament (and my own state of mind during this time of year) I wanted to devote some cyber ink on ways to pass the time during this period of March Madness. And before I waste anyone’s valuable time rambling any longer, let’s get to it:

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You could: Read a book … about football

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(AP Photo/Shephan Savoia)

(AP Photo/Shephan Savoia)

Alright, I’m sure most of you wanted to click away from this blog as soon as I mentioned the prospect of reading, but hear me out. There is a wealth of great literature out there about football. From coach and player biographies to in-depth analysis to fiction, you can get countless hours of your football fix from the pages of a book (or e-reader). Personally, I just cracked open Jerry Kramer’s “Instant Replay”, which I’ve heard is fantastic. So far, so good. Do yourself a favor this offseason and grab a great football book to help pass the time. Not only will you be able to satiate your football thirst, but you’ll likely come away more knowledgeable about the game than before.

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You could: Catch up on some TV

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Nick Briggs/HBO

Nick Briggs/HBO

For those of you opposed to actually opening a book, you can take the time to catch up on some TV instead. This is also a sad point in the television season during which network shows go on long breaks, and we’re without most of the premium cable offerings. So use this downtime to get back in the know on some great shows. Did you miss the last few seasons of “Mad Men”? The first four are on Netflix, and the most recent season is pretty affordable on Amazon. Been meaning to watch “A Football Life” for ages? Pick it up on DVD. Behind on “Game of Thrones”? Pick up the first two seasons on DVD. This option should sound especially appealing if you scoffed at my first recommendation, since the alternative is reading a 1,000-page book. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

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You could: Enjoy the extra hours of daylight

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Starting this Sunday, we’ll all be given one more hour of wondrous daylight. Even though it’s not the official beginning of spring, we can treat it as such by getting outside and enjoying that big yellow orb in the sky that we’ve been sorely missing for the past few months. Even if you live in a colder climate, go for some walks, or perhaps a run here or there to take advantage of the longer days. Heck, grab the old pigskin and throw it around with some friends. Or make a trick shot video like the one above. Not only will it help pass the time until football returns, but it’ll help you shed some of those pounds you inevitably put on stress eating wings during the season.

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You could: Actually watch the NCAA tournament

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Chris Steppig/Associated Press Pool

Chris Steppig/Associated Press Pool

Personally, I love college basketball. And I find the annual NCAA tournament to be one of the more enjoyable events in sports. So this year, take a page out of my playbook and after you’ve filled out your bracket all willy-nilly, or based on mascots/colors/some other inane theory, actually watch the tournament! Don’t just Google the results to update your bracket. Watch the games and enjoy the upsets, blowouts and overtime contests that will be dominating the sports news cycle for the rest of March. Believe me, you won’t be sorry.

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You could: Lose yourself in NFL.com content

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Lastly, if you’ve made it this far in the list and are frustrated by the lack of pure football options, fear not. This one is arguably the best. Since you keep coming to this site, you’re obviously a football die-hard like the rest of us. Which is why we’ve painstakingly compiled trackers for both free agency and the  2013 NFL Draft just for you. At each tracker is in-depth analysis and info that can keep you heart content until April 26th. If that’s not enough, tune in every Friday for our new series Mock Draft Weekly. Or read some of the hundreds of stories we churn out daily. Nothing like a little shameless self-promotion during the offseason! No go forth and endure, my friends. The start of the NFL season is only 168 days away.

Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar

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