(Philadelphia, Pa) — Even though everyone knows how much I loathe exhibition football games, Today (July 16th) is a special day on the NFL Calendar. Why is July 16th so special, you may ask?? The New York Jets officially open their training camp on July 16th at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY (40th year, but will move to their new headquarters in Florham Park, New Jersey next year) by welcoming their rookie players. The event officially ends the long draught of non-NFL on the field action — we all know about the overly reported man off-the-field NFL player incidents with the law — since OTA’s ended for most teams way back in June.
Now fans can turn away from baseball’s borefest — BTW: Did anyone watch all 15 inings from last night’s snooze-worthy All-Star game — and start planning on how to spend their Sundays from September to Super Bowl Sunday in February. The rest of the league will soon have all of their playes in the fold as this weekend the Washington Redskins (July 19), Houston Texans (July 20) and San Diego Chargers (July 20) report for duty with every team in camp by July 27th.
Recent trends in the NFL point to teams no longer utilizing dorm life on college campuses and training at their own facilities. In fact, almost half the teams in the NFL (14 of 32) will be at their own place — that number is up compared to just 4 teams doing so ten years ago. The Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams will camp train at new sites this summer, while the Green Bay Packers — right in the middle of Brett Favre fiasco — will return to St. Norbert College in DePere, Wisconsin, for the 51st consecutive year. Click here for the complete 2008 NFL training camp schedule.
The pre-season is not my favorite time on the NFL Calendar and the “real” games don’t start for a couple of months. But NFL fans everywhere can rejoice in knowing that NFL teams now have pads on and there are so many great storylines to follow (Favre retiring/unretiring, Can the Giants get back to the Super Bowl w/o Strahan, Which coach will be fired first, Can the Patriots overcome the loss of the perfect season and spygate, Can Donovan McNabb lead the Eagles to the playoffs, and much more). The real fun will start the weekend of August 2nd in Canton, Ohio at the Hall of Fame inductions and first pre-season game — Pro Football Hall of Fame Game with the Indianapolis Colts vs. the Washington Redskins on Sunday, August 3 (NBC, 8 PM ET).
So let Summer GTraining Camp Phase of the NFL Calendar Begin !!!!