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Thursday, October 28, 2004
Updated: October 29, 3:51 PM ET
Livin' la vida sofa

By David Schoenfield
Page 2

We watch a lot of television here at ESPN. Hey, it's part of the job; that's what we tell our bosses anyway. And they keep falling for it, because get this: I'm going to watch 19 days of football ... in a row.

That's 19 football games in 19 days. I'll be surgically attached to my couch (I'm bringing in the Red Sox team doctor to perform the operation). I'll watch Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, I'll watch Oklahoma battle Oklahoma State, I'll watch Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football and North Texas take on Louisiana-Lafayette. I don't even know if that's a conference game, but I'll be watching. I will become the ultimate couch potato.

You're welcome to join me for this journey, because I'll be writing a diary of my experiences. Is too much football an unhealthy obsession? What will all those Cialis and Viagra commercials do to one's psyche? Will I be talking like Joe Theismann and Brent Musberger after three weeks? Will I be dreaming of Joe Theismann and Brent Musberger after three weeks? (Please, football gods, please don't let that happen.)

The journey begins tonight. But before the journey starts, I thought some ground rules needed to be established. Thus, the 10 Commandments Of Being A Couch Potato -- those rules which will be in play for the 19 days.

1. Thou shalt not worship any god but football.

I will live the game for 19 days. I will not turn the channel to watch a replay of Game 4 of the 1991 World Series on ESPN Classic, as much as I may want to. I will not watch "Desperate Housewives" on Sunday nights (although I will record and watch the next morning). I will avoid all reality television. What's more real than South Florida at UAB on a Wednesday night? I will wear a Jim Zorn replica jersey at all times.

2. Thou shalt not take the name of football in vain.

I will not mock sideline reporters, but appreciate them for the value-added context they bring to a football telecast. I will not cringe and throw pizza slices at the TV when announcers say for the 32nd time in a broadcast how underrated the fat guys in the trenches are. I will not curse when I hear that "Tom Brady doesn't have great stats, he just wins" even though he does have great stats and there's the little thing called the New England defense that ain't too shabby.

3. Thou shalt not covet Jill Arrington.

Umm, what game is she doing again this weekend?

4. Thou shalt not be caught without fresh batteries for the remote.

This is like watching the Super Bowl and not having some money riding on the game. You have to be prepared, because the first rule of being a couch potato is you don't leave the couch.

5. Thou shalt eat chips and salsa every day.

Of course, my wife would say I do this every day as it is. But the key to this adventure is a different salsa for each day -- Tostitos, Newman's Own, Imus Ranch, Williams & Sonoma ... hot, medium, garlic, peach ... we'll try 'em all.

6. Thou shalt not let the wife invite her girlfriends over for any get-togethers.

No XX chromosomes will be allowed near the designated football television.

7. Thou shalt keep the toilet seat lid up at all times.

It was suggested that I just attach a device known as the Stadium Pal to my, umm, urinary tract. But they wouldn't let me expense it, so I nixed that idea.

8. Thou shalt not commit murder.

I'm pretty sure this won't happen. But again, I'll be sitting through 19 days of Cialis and Viagra commercials.

9. Thou shalt not commit perjury.

In other words, what I write in this diary will be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I swear on Vince Lombardi's grave.

10. No vegetables.

I will not eat anything green for 19 days. Unless it's salsa.

David Schoenfield is an editor for Page 2 in his day job. You can reach him at davidschoenfield@yahoo.com.