The NFL season is in full swing, and with the AFL done and dusted for another year -- congratulations to the Bulldogs, by the way -- it means I can now give full attention to my other major sporting love. I havent always followed American football, but its fair to say I am a massive fan now.The first game of NFL I ever saw live was in 2008, at a freezing cold Meadowland stadium in New York watching the Jets play the Bills. Former Geelong fullback and one of the first Aussie NFL punters Ben Graham had kindly organised us tickets. To say we (myself and six Saints teammates) were excited was an understatement. To say we left disappointed was an even greater understatement - we saw five field goals and a 9-6 scoreline. Hardly a good advertisement for the game.Fast forward almost 10 years and I cant get enough of it, probably thanks to my American wife Cath. The AFL offseason coincides with start of NFL/college seasons, so I get over exposed once I get to the US for my end-of-season break.The NFL is vastly different to footy in so many ways, but the more Ive developed an understanding for the game, the more my appreciation has grown. I love the athleticism and raw power of the athletes - I think that would be obvious to anyone who watches.A few years back, the Saints flew to Colorado for off-season training and we were privileged to spend time with the Denver Broncos. The pure size of the players is what struck me most but I was also blown away with how athletic the really big guys are. Sure I knew the receivers, corners and running backs could move, but Id underestimated the speed and agility of the others.People often ask about switching codes and who could play what position. The skill sets in both our sports are so specific, I think anyone attempting a transition Jarryd Hayne-style would find it extraordinarily difficult, as Hayne experienced at the 49ers, and former Gold Coast utility Joel Wilkinson also discovered in his brief time with the Arizona Cardinals.Prior to meeting my wife and becoming a Houston Texans fan, I really just followed the great players. Ive always loved Tom Brady but more recently have been extremely spoilt to watch on a weekly basis one of the all-time great defenders, pass rushers and Houston icons in J.J. Watt. He is 65 and 295lb (134kg) and can box jump over five feet - check it out on Youtube!Athletic attributes aside, many NFL players are highly entertaining. Culturally they are celebrated for being outlandish, outspoken and controversial, far more than players in the AFL. Some of the post-touchdown celebrations that have clearly been choreographed that seem to fly over there would be derided and chastised by a player kicking a goal in Australia.Ive also come to love the strategy and small nuances in American football. Like any sport, I enjoy watching the great teams with brilliant systems and coaching such as the New England Patriots, and I love watching the premier quarterbacks dissect a defence and alter plays at the line of scrimmage - ala Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. In the ultimate display of power, speed and strength which is the NFL, there is still a place for brains and cunning.The television and media coverage is outstanding and by watching with those that truly know the game, my love and appreciation has only been enhanced. Despite this, its always difficult watching games live in Australia given the time difference.However, the fantasy football craze dictates that I stay well and truly up-to-date on all the games. Ive been in a league with a bunch of random AFL types for the past seven years, including Adam Kingsley, Matthew Primus and Jacob Surjan. Im also in a league with 10 St Kilda players and one in Houston with my mates there.Perhaps the only aspect of the game I dont like is its stop-start nature. Attending live games, the league caters for this by filling in the blanks with entertainment for the crowd, whether that be acknowledgements to the armed services or on-field activations involving fans. Over the past seven years Ive been lucky enough to attend the majority of Houston and Baylor University home games during my time in the States.College fans are generally more passionate than NFL supporters from what Ive witnessed. Every weekend, thousands of past and current students go back to the hundreds of colleges around the States to cheers on their alma mater. Consider this: last year, four colleges (Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama and University of Texas) all averaged home crowds of more than 100,000. Thats more than the MCG on grand final day! And also consider this: legendary Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh earns around $AU7m a year, which is more than 26 NFL coaches. Thats how big college football is.When Im in Texas over the off-season, we attend every Baylor home game and Ill admit Ive become a fully-fledged Bears fan. They have recently completed a brand new 50,000 seat stadium on the Brazos River in Waco, which they fill every week. Its easy to see why some American football fans prefer the college game to NFL, as it tends to be a far more attacking style of game than the pro version, and therefore fans enjoy higher scores and more frequent big plays.NFL - and other major American sporting codes - seem to be gaining in popularity among Australian sporting fans. There are several others at the Saints who share my passion for the game and AFL-wide the appreciation seems to be growing.Ive taken great interest in reading fellow ESPN columnist and NFL fan Josh Jenkins take on the game and wouldnt mind challenging him in one of our fantasy leagues next year. And if he ever feels like joining the Saints, Im always looking for someone to practice throwing spirals with at training! Igor Larionov Jersey .C. -- When North Carolina freshman Ryan Switzer reported to training camp in August he was a little miffed to learn he was third on the depth chart at punt returner. Markus Naslund Jersey . The deal is pending a physical, assistant general manager Bobby Evans said. Traded from Seattle to Baltimore on Aug. 30, Morse also can play first base and right field to give manager Bruce Bochy some flexibility in writing his lineup. http://www.cheapcanucksjerseyschina.com/ . 1, meaning problems for the doping controls at both major international sports events next year. The World Anti-Doping Agency provisionally suspended the Moscow Antidoping Center on Sunday, saying its operations must improve or a six-month ban on the facilitys accreditation will be imposed. Erik Gudbranson Jersey . -- Matt Kuchar and Harris English ran away with the Franklin Templeton Shootout, shooting a 14-under 58 on Sunday in the final-round scramble to break the tournament course record. Christopher Tanev Jersey . LOUIS -- Lance Lynn was one of the more enthusiastic participants as the St.Despite having more than one-quarter of the season left to be played, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos is already answering questions about what he intends to do to strengthen the club heading into next year. Speaking on TSN Drive Wednesday night, the fourth-year GM said the team is intent on acquiring a new second baseman and at least one additional starter. Expected to be among the American Leagues contenders following a wave of off-season trades and signings, the Jays sit 12.5 games back in the wild card race and 16 back of the A.L. East-leading Boston Red Sox heading into action Thursday night. “Primarily it comes down to the rotation,” Anthopoulos said of the teams failure to live up to expectations. “Were last in baseball in starters ERA and thats not what we expected. It was something that we felt was going to be a strength.” With the additions of R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle coupled with incumbents Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero and J.A. Happ, Torontos rotation was thought to be a strength, but a combination of injuries and inconsistency have – at times – plagued every member of the starting staff. “Whether it was Josh Johnsons performance or being out or Brandon Morrow being out for the bulk of the year or even relying on J.A. Happ or Romero to be our fifth starter and Happ has missed a lot of time -- so three-fifths of the rotation being out,” Anthopoulos said. “You add it all up and youre not going to have the rotation you expected to.” Although the team is expected to have starters Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek back once rosters expand in September following serious arm issues, Anthopoulos isnt willing to rely on the starters to be the teams saviours in 2014.dddddddddddd “Dont know yet what to expect from those guys,” Anthopoulos said. “Long-term we believe in them, but I dont know that were prepared to say that theyre going to be mainstays in the rotation.” Regarding, the teams former ace, Romero who has had an up-and-down season with Torontos ?AAA affiliate in Buffalo, ?Anthopoulos sounded less enthusiastic, saying the team “cant make plans to have him in the rotation” at this point. Instead, Anthoupolos said he will be looking to add arms from outside the organization to go along with a defense–first second baseman. “I think absolutely, at a minimum, well have to add one starter,” he said. “At second base I think were going to have to go out and get someone who is a defender.” Besides the rotation struggles, the teams defense – which is third last in the A.L. with 83 errors – has also been a sore spot. Still, the GM said he has been impressed with the play of outfielders Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista and believes a full season out of Jose Reyes and Brett Lawrie will provide a boost to the left side of the infield. In addition to finding a new double play partner for Reyes, Anthopoulos was non-committal to incumbent first baseman/DH Adam Lind, who has a club option for next season, saying the team has “some decisions to make” on the 30-year-old. In regard to Tuesdays trade of Emilio Bonifacio, Anthopoulos said the 28-year-old, who was once thought of as a key component of the blockbuster trade with the Marlins, never got off on the right foot in Toronto. “He really didnt get off to the start we hoped he would, never got going defensively or with the bat, lost quite a bit of playing time.” ' ' '