The euphoria that fall brings can only really, truly, be understood by football-loving families. The crunchy leaves, the all-day tailgating, and the crisp air get us giddier than a couple of kids on Christmas morning. Sure, there won't be any presents, but the gift that football continues to give throughout the season is, well, priceless. It's undeniable that there are things all families who love football just understand, and that understanding makes it easy to recognize that fall is, by far, the best time of year.

Everyone has their vice; for some people it’s drugs, for others it's food or bad reality television, but for us it’s football and we make no apologies for dawning our favorite team's jerseys and stressing about last-minute plays. We definitely won't feel bad about raising our kids in a football-loving environment, as my partner and I truly hope that, eventually, our boys will love football just as much as we do. After all, any true fanatic understands that football is, first and foremost, a family affair. It's a great excuse to get together, and whether we're all pulling for the same team or not, the love of that quintessential game day experience is something we can all appreciate. Most of us learned from an early age that Sundays are sacred and the refs are the enemy; we know not to talk during third downs and that overtime is more stressful than tax season.

As with any family tradition, the love of football is passed down from generation to generation. Our grandparents taught our parents, our parents taught us, and so we too will teach our own children all about the love of the game. It all sounds very weird and cult-like, sure, but if you were raised in a football family you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Chip Dip, Pigs In A Blanket, And Buffalo Wings Are All Part Of A Balanced, Acceptable Tailgating Diet


Look, nine days out of ten we sincerely put forth our most valiant efforts to provide at least somewhat healthy and edible meals for our family and we want to seriously stress the importance of a balanced diet. However, on the days when the Broncos are playing the Patriots,devouring various carbohydrates and trans fats is more than acceptable.

Oh, you thought football was just about watching a bunch of grown men tackle each other? Nope! It's also about wing dip, potato skins, the perfect brisket recipe, and a boutique beer that compliments them all. YOLO.

Weekends Are Reserved For Football (Monday And Thursday Nights, Too)

Football season only lasts for five short months, so we will soak up every last statistic and playoff game for as long as we can. Yes, we will happily attend our kids' soccer games on the weekends and provide limitless snacks and Capri Suns and, yes, they will have our full and undivided attention during said games, but there's a distinct chance that we’re checking ESPN during halftime. Technology has come a long way, so it would be a shame for us to waste such a gift.

Wardrobes Revolve Around Team Colors


Until our boys reached an age where they could pick out their own clothes, a large part of their wardrobe contained various combinations of our team’s colors (even by that point they might have been brainwashed into believing that orange is, in fact, their favorite color). Chock it up to superstition or perhaps lunacy, but we think the whole family needs to wear their lucky shirts and/or appropriate colored attire on game day. No, you're crazy!

Wanting To Name Your Kid After Your Favorite Player

Picking a unique baby name was more difficult than obtaining my college degree and, at one point, my partner and I picked a few "back up" names that may or may not have been derived from some aspect of Peyton Manning’s life, or some other part of the game and the athletes who play it. Seriously though, who wouldn’t want to be named after Peyton Manning or Russell Wilson (other than any Patriots fan)?

We Truly Believe That Fall Is The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year


It could be the changing of the leaves, the cool crisp air, or the delicious seasonal lattes that get us so revved up for autumn, but it’s probably (read: definitely) the beginning of football season that has us, year round, looking forward to fall. Football is only around for six short months of the year and we plan on soaking up every single second of the season. Before we know it, the Super Bowl will be right around the corner and the season will be over, so we plan on making plenty of happy memories to fall back on during that difficult time. Our version of seasonal depression has less to do with the fact that it's winter, and more to do with the fact that football season is over in February.

Football Swag Is Always The Perfect Gift

Friends and family members of football addicts have a lifetime of easy gifting-giving ahead of them. When in doubt, they can opt for team logos on any article of clothing or accessory, and we won't even have to pretend to like it. Sure, we might have twelve different shirts boasting different versions of the same year we won the Super Bowl or the National Championship, but there’s no such thing as too many commemorative tees. Long live 1998!

Sometimes We're Emotionally Dependent On The Outcome Of The Game


This isn’t something we’re proud of, and we’re working on it. Though it may, at times, seem like we're emotionally unstable after a tough loss, we are usually normal, mellow, and contributing members of society during the work week. Usually, all we need is a hug, a taco, and a few minutes to whisper-yell profanities in peace, and we’ll be back to our normal selves in no time

We Talk About The Players Like They're Part Of Our Family


Of course we know that Aaron Rogers is completely unaware of our existence, but that doesn’t mean that if we met we wouldn’t immediately become best friends. We’ve grown up watching these players for years and we know their stories and we've seen them struggle (at times), so we feel connected to them. Yes, we might hold a little too tight to even the slightest common denominator between us and them but, I mean, that's normal, right? Like, Clay Matthews loves Campbell’s Chunky Soup? OMG, me too! That's more than enough of a reason to be on a first-name basis with a professional athlete that we've never met.

The truth is, there's so much more to sports than just winning and losing, and growing up in a football family is about a lot more than just football. In the end, it’s about spending time together and bonding over a mutual love of the game. It’s about hospitality and making memories with family. Sure, we love the big hits and the hot wings, but they mean nothing to us if we can’t share them with family.