Sally Ann Shurmur: Sad College Football Is Over But Thankfully NFL Continues

Columnist Sally Ann Shurmur writes, "Part of loving football is loving the history. In my case, that goes back 70 years to Michigan, where Fritz the Dad played and started his coaching career. From there, to Laramie in 1962 and then to the NFL in 1975, where he spent the next 24 seasons."

Sally Ann Shurmur

January 11, 20244 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

This week is the perfect example of putting off writing the weekly column until the very last minute.

After watching Michigan, the state of my birth, win the national championship on Monday, I had the same sad feeling I always do when college football ends.

Despair thinking it’s a long time until August 31, the date of the Pokes’ season opener in Tempe.

So I thought I would probably share my thoughts about the 13 remaining NFL games,  because there is a lot of nostalgia tied to that.

And then, boom, in what some over-the-toppers are saying were the most impactful 24 hours in the sport’s history, three long timers called it quits.

First, Pete Carroll out at the Seahawks. Players love him, me not so much. Johnny Rah Rah is just a bit much.

Then before dinner Wednesday, Nick Saban retired at Alabama. The SEC brand will not be the same without him, nor will the Crimson Tide.

This one hits hard. My daughter-in-law is Roll Tide from birth and she is not okay.

When we were introduced over brunch at Eggington’s, Joe the Son had warned, “she’s really nervous about meeting you. Go easy on her, you’re a lot.”

So within five minutes, we were talking football and have been ever since.

And then as I awoke early Thursday, news that Bill Belichick is stepping down from the Patriots. Easily the most successful coach in the modern era. Love him or don’t, but there’s no denying his success.

In 24 years, he won 30 playoff games and six Super Bowls.

Part of loving football is loving the history. In my case, of course, that goes back 70 years to Albion College in Michigan, where Fritz the Dad played, got his degrees and started his coaching career.

From there it was to Laramie in 1962 and then to the NFL in 1975, where he spent the next 24 seasons.

So now that the breaking news is covered, let’s chat briefly about the remaining 13 NFL games.

Normally, I would say that I would be glued to all 13. This year, because of greed and modernization and ridiculous decisions, it’s 12.

I am not buying Peacock to stream the Dolphins and the Chiefs. I already pay for cable because I am old and DirecTV because I am spoiled.

I realize I lucked out when the league picked that game to stream. I am not positive I would have been so righteous had it been one of Sunday’s matchups.

The faceless stalker trolls on X who don’t agree with anything I say think I am ridiculous to not spend the tiny bit of money it would cost to stream. I am just not doing it.

One of the things, and there are many, I miss most with the death of the morning paper is a reliable TV listing.

If you do too, here is the list of NFL games this weekend, in Mountain time.


2:30 p.m., Browns at Texans, NBC

6 p.m., Dolphins at Chiefs, Peacock only


11 a.m., Steelers at Bills, CBS

2:30 p.m., Packers at Cowboys, Fox

6 p.m., Rams at Lions, NBC


6:15 p.m., Eagles at Bucs, ESPN

The weather forecast for the Dolphins at the Chiefs may include -5 temperature, -15 wind chill and gusts to 23.

In Buffalo on Sunday, wind chill is expected to be in the “zeros,” with gusts to 40.

Although nobody really likes it, that’s nothing that QB1 didn’t experience in the Gem City.

Go Pokes got a new nickname last week when Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio referred  to him as “a dude.”

I expect the dude to enjoy the absence of T.J. Watt and get a victory for the Bills.

Only 12 to go, and I will be watching every minute.

Sally Ann Shurmur can be reached at:

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Sally Ann Shurmur