Countdown to football season has begun

The countdown has begun.

With EA Sports holding the premiere party for Madden NFL 2008 and the actually release of the game to the public on Aug. 14, my internal clock has begun ticking. Football season will soon be upon us.

Growing up, football was my favorite sport.

It still stands atop my list of sports, cemented by the ability to watch pretty much any game I want on Sundays thanks to satellite.

And I'm not the only one who enjoys football.

The Super Bowl is watched by nearly half of U.S. television households, and is also televised in over 150 other countries.

To supplement the professional level, I'm also enjoy college football.

I always support my Sun Devils and hope Dennis Erickson can get them to something other than the Insight Bowl or Aloha Bowl.

Of course, I'm not counting arena football. That spectacle annoys me more than it captivates my attention.

Barry Sanders was, and still is, my favorite football player.

He gave me hope that a 5-foot 10-inch, 200-pound athlete could thrive in the National Football League.

I, unfortunately, lacked that athlete part of the equation. So, beyond living vicariously through Sportscenter's top 10 plays, I play Madden.

EA Sports even took it to another level two years ago when you could develop your own character, develop his skills through college and eventually get drafted to play on an NFL franchise.

There is some ego inflation when you not only win the Super Bowl, but also win the Most Valuable Player award.

But, I'm not delusional. I can clearly separate video games from reality.

Now I've just got to hope that Las Vegas doesn't separate me from my money once the season starts.