Are you ready for some football?

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HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 01: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots waits near the bench during the first half of the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Two weeks ago we got high school games. Then, last weekend college ball returned.

 

Now, we are just days away from the return of the NFL and all seems right in the world for football fans everywhere. If you are like me, then you have been waiting for your favorite NFL team to return to the field for a while (especially if your favorite baseball team is having an awful season—like mine).

 

It seems like it has been forever since the Super Bowl and even longer since most of us have seen our favorite teams playing meaningful games. Of course, along with the return of football, come plenty of interesting stories.

 

Here are just a few things I am thinking about as I wait for kickoff on Thursday.

 

Tom Brady will lead the Super Bowl champion Patriots onto the field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes, that’s right—Brady. The guy who is supposed to be sitting out the first four games of the year will miss no time due to the drama that was ‘Deflategate.’

 

What a mess this was for the NFL. The commissioner ruled against the league’s golden-boy-turned-pariah only to see it thrown out by an appeals court. Honestly, I am tired of it all.

 

When you look at the NFL’s evidence against Brady, or complete lack thereof, it becomes apparent he should not have served any sort of suspension—thus the appeals court got it right. Of course, this doesn’t make the Brady (or his team) look any better. The court of public opinion will surely find him guilty for the remainder of his career.

 

Despite a solid showing in the Eagles’ final preseason game, Tim Tebow finds himself unemployed again. I only mention this because I find his case to be a curious one. In his one season as a starting quarterback in the NFL, Tebow led his team to the playoffs.

 

This year, he played pretty well for the Eagles in the preseason, but still, he has no place in the league. I just wonder how bad he must be in practice for teams to not want any part of him.

 

I understand his throwing mechanics are not ideal, but he seems to succeed when he is on the field. I feel like that’s all that should matter, right?

 

Finally, there was an incident involving players from San Antonio’s John Jay High School who targeted and took down an official during their game Friday in Texas.

 

Never in the almost 20 years that I have covered high school football have I ever seen such a thing—I was shocked when I heard about it Saturday.

 

While it seems the official who was hit by the two players will be fine, it brings up all kinds of questions about the safety of those who work for little pay to make sure high school football games are played by the rules. The incident highlights a scary situation that could conceivably happen on any given Friday (or Saturday or Sunday).

 

With their eyes always watching the play, officials are not on the field looking to protect themselves from blindsiding hits. They run the risk of being targeted and serious injuries at any time.

 

I am hopeful that this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing and those two players (who now claim they were provoked by comments made by the official during the game) should not be allowed to play any sports for the rest of their high school careers.

 

I would also hope the official does press charges against them with the local police department. Really, what they did was assault him when he had his back turned.

 

They should not be protected from criminal charges because they were on an athletic field. Assault is assault, no matter where it occurs.