Anyone looking for something to watch until NFL training camps start in late July, may get their fix from watching the movie Any Given Sunday
The early summer period before training camps start in late July — the Cleveland Browns will be the first to open camp as both have rookies reporting on July 23 — is considered “Downtime” around the NFL.
Many people that work around the league, including players and coaches, take this time for a well-deserved month of re-charging before training camp begins. Organized Training Activities (OTAs) for most teams have shut down with many players returning to their hometowns, attending charitable events like golf tournaments, running football camps, or simply taking a vacation.
However as a self-described football junkie I have chosen to always be tuned into football even if the NFL is dormant. There are several football related diversions to soothe my NFL fix including NFL Network (“NFL Football 24/7”), NFL Films documentaries/features, player holdout news, player camps, football related movies to watch (my choice is Any Given Sunday), the NFL Supplemental Draft, and minor league football.
Unfortunately there is no longer NFL Europe — there have been rumors that after the CBA is finalized that the NFL may look to establish another prospect league. But after a year hiatus, the Arena Football League is back plus the Canadian Football League (CFL) is beginning. Even though these leagues are not NFL caliber, it is fun to watch when the NFL is quiet. Yes, I am football crazy enough to watch the AFL, CFL, or put in a DVD of the NFL’s most disliked series Playmakers.
Conversely the only people still focusing on the daily grind of the NFL at this time are GM’s and Head Coaches. Some may try to vacation and take their mind off the sport, but most decision-makers that I have talked to hate this time of the year. They usually spend this “off” month putting the final touches on their training camp preparations while nervously checking news outlets to make sure that none of their players run amuck during their time out of their team’s reach (i.e. “Police Blotter Time”).
Sadly it seems every week that there is another NFL player related story where a situation occurs that could possibly lead to a “hangover” going into next season (think Ben Roethlisberger’s “bar” activity). Even with Commissioner Roger Goodell talking tough and always being ready to come down hard on trouble players, unfortunately some players just seem to find trouble…checkout the website NFL Crimes Newsblog.
So as I always say, “The NFL Never Sleeps”. Some events before training camps start are the Rookie Symposium, 2010 NFL Supplemental Draft, and many others on the 2010-11 NFL calendar that will briefly take over the spotlight.
Until then NFL players should enjoy the little bit of downtime that they have left — just not too much though, i.e. STAY OUT of TROUBLE — since the reality of hot two-a-days in the sun of training camp will be here before we all know it.
Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer/Analyst for Taking It to the House and an award winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)