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It has been a strange week in a bizarre year. The NFL pre-season has both taken forever then flown by without games and suddenly the season opens tonight.

However, sadly one of the TWF team is not here to see it as Dan’s Dad, current Picks Competition Champion and Trivia Master passed away earlier in the week.

I have already written this pre-season of the power of sports to bring people together, and not only does it do that, but at its best it can provide a scaffolding for friendships and family. Going to the football with your dad for the first time and being enthralled by the green of the grass. The connection to your cricket loving gran and a shared bond through Test Match Special that means the TMS team are never far away from making you think of her, and tears in your eyes when England win the world cup and wishing she’d been here to see it. Taking your nephew to see the Baggies and being responsible for an excited seven-year-old on your own for the first time.

Dan and I met through music. We were the rhythm section for a Leicester band no-one remembers. Making music together is another quick way to tie people together. There’s a vulnerability when creating together that quickly forms a bond if entered into in the right spirit. We stayed in touch even after the band broke up, and a shared love of the NFL led to Super Bowls spent texting each other and so when I was setting up an NFL blog it seemed natural to ask if he would picks games with me to give this blog a structure.

Clearly it worked as six years later we are still here!

About eighteen months after that, Dan came to me and said he fancied doing a podcast and The Wrong Football podcast was born. Early on (I’d have to go back and check to be sure, and I’m really not sure I want to listen to those early pods) Dan’s Dad sent a question to his son and in no time at all a segment was formed and continued, even when the podcast went on hiatus where it transferred to my Competition Thursday posts.

To be honest, a lot of the time it felt like Dan & I taking on 3D as he became known to me (Devious Dan’s Dad) and he won not one but two picks seasons as the trivia flowed on, testing us, sometimes relenting if we were scoreless for too many weeks in a row, but never easing up for long.

The picks wins are the reason that the site is currently in Vikings’ purple and gold, and at some point, I will work out what to do on here to mark his memory, but the colours are his for this season by right as well as sentiment.

Dan’s Dad wrote a great post about his own fandom, eerily titled Th… Th… That’s All Folks! that I would suggest you read for a look into NFL fandom from a different time. I’m sure I will read it again when I can bring myself to.

I am going to miss being stumped by his trivia, and the weekly emails during the season, as well as our WhatsApp group chats. Of course, Dan is going to miss his dad and Dan’s children are not going to remember their grandad. Oh, the stories we are going to tell them, so they know some of the man.

There is no easy way to turn this back to Competition Thursday.

A regular post that I will always associate with 3D.

The is the second post that has reduced me to tears this season, and we haven’t even seen a game yet, but I have a feeling it won’t be the last.

Find someone close and give them a hug is what Dan said earlier this week on twitter, and I cannot think of better sentiment.

In the meantime, as the season stops for no-one, and with a heavy heart, I will turn to the first Competition Thursday of the 2020 season.

Knowing full well that it will never be the same again.

Texans @ Chiefs (-10.5)

I have a feeling that our picks will be particularly turbulent through the start of the season as we have nothing to really guide us. The Chiefs have kept their core together whilst the ongoing issue of having a coach making personnel decisions makes me worry about the Texans. However, at this point what we have is a very big line, that is a point and a half over the consensus figure I have seen and so I’m going to make the numbers based play and look forward to what should be a really good game.

Dan is going the other way and could very well be right!

Gee’s Pick:      Texans
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Survivor Competition

We were already moving the trivia competition to the podcast so when the pod resumes next week so will the trivia. In its place on the blog we are going to run a friendly (I’m sure Dan and I will still desperately want to win) survivor competition. I’m running it via a spreadsheet across the season with a score to see who does best as there’s just the two of us, but we will still only be able to pick a team once for the season and unless Dan objects I think there should be a bonus point for whoever stays alive the longest.

However, this week both of us appear to have used the same logic, and picked the team playing the Jaguars. We shall see if this is a case of great minds think alike, or fools seldom differ.

Week 1 Selection:

Gee:     Colts
Dan:    Colts