Editors' Note: Are You Ready For Some Football?

No sport looms larger in America than pro football. 

When the weather cools and the leaves threaten to fall from the trees, we look to the new season with unbridled excitement. While we may play plenty of golf, it’s football that we watch with a passion.

There’s nothing like sitting down for the big game, firing up a fat cigar and watching your favorite team take on its archrival. In the NFL, there are few unimportant games—each team plays only 16 games in the season, so most games count. 

As we inched closer to the first game of the new season on September 7, we began putting together our largest-ever football package for your enjoyment. It begins with star handicapper Danny Sheridan making his predictions for the 2017 NFL season. Pay attention to what this man foretells. Last year he boldly—and correctly—chose the New England Patriots to go all the way and win the Super Bowl, despite knowing that star quarterback Tom Brady would be missing the first four games of the season. Sheridan not only calls the winner of the big game, but he predicts the way each team will finish in their respective divisions. 

We also get up close and personal with Jay Glazer and Dean Blandino, two NFL analysts who know the game inside and out. Glazer has long worked the sidelines for Fox, getting the inside scoop on players. Blandino, an 18-year veteran of the NFL, joins Glazer this year on the Fox network. Writer Marshall Fine sat down with the two men over cigars and wine to talk about issues facing the NFL and what we should look for this year.

And what’s a great football game without a little money riding on the outcome? Our bettors’ guide to the NFL will enlighten you—and maybe even lead you to a profit.

Our story on the extensive history of the NFL takes you from the early, leatherhead days of the game to the current era of high-flying offense and Patriot dominance. We bring you interviews with three men who have great perspective on the game, cigar smokers all: the formidable Dolphins’ defensive end Jason Taylor, who nearly lost a leg to injury on the football field; owner Robert Kraft of the Patriots, who built a paragon among elite sports franchises; and linebacker Dick Butkus, one of the toughest men ever to don cleats. 

We also introduce you to a new age in NFL stadiums. The latest venues provide previously unimaginable access to the game as spectators bask in the seats of luxury. 

So sit back, light up your favorite smoke and enjoy the issue.