Leading Off

Leading Off: The NFL is back (even though it never left)

This week, NFL teams are reporting to training camp sites around the country and beginning to practice.

Years ago, this used to signal the start of the season.

There was a purpose and a rhythm to this that the NFL has since let fly through its hands like a pass that should have been caught.

In today’s NFL offseason, there are organized team activities and mandatory minicamps. For the record, the Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, and somehow they did so without OTAs.

Yes, the game is different in many ways; and in the dynasty days of the Steelers, the NFL didn’t feel the need to be in the spotlight 12 months a year.

The annual draft was not a prime-time TV miniseries stretched over three nights. Does anyone remember a photo or video of Commissioner Pete Rozelle doling out awkward hugs to first-round draft picks?

The NFL didn’t have its own 24-hour television network and ESPN didn’t exist. The NFL excused itself from the public eye after the Super Bowl and fans happily welcomed its return in late July.

So the NFL is back – but it never really left, did it?

– Jeff Caraska


What to do

Baseball, Dodgers at Giants, 7:15 p.m., AT&T Park: Red-hot Tim Lincecum will be on the mound for the opener of this National League West showdown.

What to watch

Baseball, A’s at Texas, 5:05 p.m., CSNCA: When the schedule was released, this looked like it would be a huge series. Not so much now.

Today’s poll

Is the NFL overexposed?

• Yes, enough already

• It’s just about right.

• No, I can’t get enough.

Vote above, or go to sacbee.com/sports

Thursday’s poll results

How often do you

watch the A’s on TV ?

• Every game that’s

broadcast: 22%

• Several games per

week: 31%

• Only on weekends: 2%

• Never: 45%

Total votes: 106

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