By Jeffery Armstrong

It's that time of the year. Tonight marks the first NFL football game of the season, the Jets and the Redskins.

Are you ready for some football?

I certainly am. High school football is fun, college football (especially the big rivalries) is even more fun and the NFL is the best thing going. People all over the country look forward to the games, as evidenced by the television ratings and fan support.

Ratings for NFL games are very high each week and football fans can be treated to a pretty decent game each week. Sometimes the Monday Night Football game may not be as good as it should be because some teams aren't as good as advertised, you still can't help but watch it.

Even ESPN has made a TV series called "Playmakers," highlighting the happenings of a fictional pro football team on and off the field. Do you think someone will create a TV series about the NBA or Major League Baseball? Don't hold your breath.

Truth be told, no one really likes the NBA or pro baseball. Oh, there are some diehard fans of certain teams who will stick with those sports despite the crap they produce on TV, but overall more people enjoy watching football.

Football is marketed better and it gives fans more hope than any other professional sport. The parity in football is great – year to year, one never knows who will win the national championship or the Super Bowl. Every team has a shot to go all the way to the promised land, even the teams that were terrible the year before.

Baseball and basketball are so predictable and everyone doesn't have a shot to win. I mean, did anyone really think the Braves weren't going to win the National League East? Yeah, right.

Even in high school football, there is a small dose of parity. Most of the good high school teams (Parkview, Brookwood, Lovejoy, Screven County, Westside-Macon) will be better than most everyone else and most of the bad high school teams will stay bad. But the good ones must stay sharp or they could lose.

I guess what separates football from the other team sports is that EVERY game means something. One loss, especially in college football, could be the difference between playing for the national championship and playing for pride.

As far as pro football goes, not only does every game mean something, the NFL does a great job of marketing the teams AND their players. That concept is lost on the NBA and pro baseball. Quick, who is the starting second baseman for the Chicago Cubs? I don't know, either. But once football season starts, I bet you I will be able to tell you the names of most of the Denver Broncos' offensive line, the Green Bay Packers' starting safety and the Pittsburgh Steelers' best wide receiver. Okay, Pittsburgh doesn't count because the Steelers are my favorite team so of course I know that one (Hines Ward).

So tonight, two NFL teams get started on the road to the Super Bowl. Everyone is undefeated right now and even the Cincinnati Bengals, believe it or not, have a chance to make the playoffs. It's a beautiful thing.

Armstrong is a sports writer for The Daily. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com. His column appears on Thursdays.