It’s football season again and I had a great time last week. Saturday of Labor Day weekend I went to the University of Oregon and saw my first college game in over 25 years. My son, Eric, is a freshman for the Ducks and we went out to see their opener. Eric is redshirting so he won’t play this year but it was a great experience nonetheless. Going to a college game was completely different than going to an NFL game as a coach. I guess I had time to enjoy the sights and sounds in Eugene. There were more young people at the game and the band and the designed cheers made it a much more festive environment. I had heard about Autzen stadium being such a noisy place and it certainly lived up to its reputation. We had a fantastic time and I’m looking forward to many trips back there.
Then on Thursday my NBC job took me to New Orleans to kick off the NFL regular season with the Saints playing the Minnesota Vikings. It was a two-day event with a lot of festivities on Wednesday, a kick-off parade and the game on Thursday. One of the highlights for me was getting to meet the first lady, Michelle Obama at an event to promote youth fitness. She was very good with the kids and brought a lot of energy to the morning. The Saints had a great crowd at the game and we did our pregame show right from the Superdome. It was a little tougher for us as we’re used to working in a quiet studio and that night I could hardly hear Dan Patrick and Rodney Harrison, even though they were right next to me.
The Saints won a very competitive game and our ratings were off the charts. In fact, in the city of New Orleans, more people watched this game than watched their Super Bowl win. Unbelievable, but it just shows that people are excited about the 2010 football season.