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Fans with the letters spelling “Gophers” on their chests cheered before the season opener Thursday.

RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER • reneejones@startribune.com,

Rand: So 'wonderful' that football is back

  • August 29, 2013 - 8:44 PM

Kid you not: Sometime around 10:30 a.m., we started whistling a familiar tune. We didn’t really know why. We had not heard it anywhere else. We didn’t even know exactly what tune it was at first — one of those embarrassing moments when the subconscious had hijacked a situation and it took a moment for everything else to catch up.

Turns out, a few seconds later, it was clear: The song was, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

And it is clear why that tune came to mind, for two reasons — connected parts, though exclusive parts.

First off, football season is here. The Gophers started their season against UNLV, and several other college teams kicked off the same night. The vast majority will get underway Saturday. Meanwhile, the Vikings played their final preseason game. The start of the NFL regular season is now less than a week away. We made it. Football is here.

Televised sports increasingly run the show, and there is no better televised sports product in the world than football.

Your favorite team only plays once a week, so games are an EVENT. You want to watch the games in real time, not on recorded delay, which only builds the experience. And as we find out with virtually every major TV event these days — from sports to “Sharknado” to the Video Music Awards — the social media aspect of a live televised event can turn it into an even bigger party.

Second, we are officially reaching the end of the incessant string of preseason story lines. We have published countless stories on both the Gophers and Vikings since they last played … eight or so months ago. Many of these stories have been relevant, compelling and informative.

But let’s face facts: These teams simply have been moving puzzle pieces around for a really long time — adding players, subtracting players, practicing. As interesting as we want to make these stories, there is no substitute for something ACTUALLY HAPPENING.

The Gophers are there. The Vikings are oh-so-close.

Grab a remote and start keeping score again. It is the most wonderful time of the year.

michael rand

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