The numbers are in. Last weekend, the NFL drew the largest season-opening audiences ESPN and Fox have ever enjoyed. On Sunday night, 28.5 million people watched San Francisco play Green Bay, and the Monday night game between Philadelphia and Washington drew ESPN's highest viewership for that venerable feature.
We could be watching baseball, slow as baseball sometimes seems.
We could be watching basketball, if only in our dreams.
We could be somewhere swimming. Hey, it's warm enough for that.
We could be pitching playing cards into an up-turned hat.
We could be keeping track of teams now headed for Brazil …
Some soccer teams have qualified, though others never will.
We could be riding horses up a treacherous ravine,
Or climbing down a mountain where faint hearts are never seen.
We could be warming up for hockey season, I suppose,
Although it's true sometimes those seasons prematurely close.
We could be whacking tennis balls against a practice wall,
And dreaming dreams of Wimbledon, where fav'rites sometimes fall.
Instead we're watching football. This is simply what we do.
It may be good, it may be bad, but certainly it's true.
The numbers do not lie, my friend, they're solid as can be.
They say that when there's football, we are watching on TV.
Now some may feel dismay when they are pointed toward this fact.
And others may be thrilled, and maybe some will not react.
It doesn't matter. Life goes on, as nighttime follows day,
As sure as some of us have seen what hair we have turn gray.
The rich are likely to get richer, as the poor stay poor,
And as the football games increase, we'll watch them more and more.
This program aired on September 11, 2013.