It’s that time of year.

I don’t remember feeling blue last year. I must have. But I think this season it’s hit a bit harder. I don’t know why.

I’ve tried to forget it, ignore it, put it out of my mind. When that didn’t work I tried to hold on, snatching every possible minute of it.

I know it will come again. But that’s so far away. And who knows what it will be like?

With just 9 days until the Super Bowl, I’m in a football funk.

I mean, I’m really feeling ill about this. It’s been such a great season! There was Favre, a man of near mythological fame, who fell silently, coldly, in front of his football family, in the last few minutes of the NFC Championship. Peyton, who plays for teams Sony and Gatorade as much as the Colts, also, with home field advantage, failed to drive his team to victory.

The Chargers, oh, man. Theirs was a season born of sheer will. And the Giants? I never would have considered them a serious contender, but the younger Manning has performed as if he’s channeling Joe Montana, who humbly serves pie pitching the NFL Network.

Ah, the NFL Network. If not for the snow storm in Chicago, I would have missed the Cowboys rake the Packers over coals. It’s still a sham.

And if I were ever to admit to having a man crush, and I never would, because I would never have a man crush, but if hypothetically if I did have a man crush and I would admit to it, who would be a better object of envy than Tom Brady — the focus, the determination, the skill … the girlfriend.

So, oddly enough, I find myself mourning the end of the NFL season. I’m not a fantasy player. I don’t gamble. I don’t congregate with other men to drink beer and watch games. I don’t live and die by a single team’s record. So I’m a little puzzled by my condition.

I’ve tried not to neglect family time, tried not to sacrifice time with Ella for time with Ely.

And I haven’t. Not too much. When I think back, it’s only the end of the season and the playoffs that get me torqued. It’s the best of the best, the drive for a championship, when Giants are underdogs and run the NFC table, when a worn and weary Chargers team can push perfection to the brink, because it’s all about winning, and that’s all about doing your absolute best for as long as you can.

No. It’s really about play, playing a game, even vicariously, for as long as possible. It’s running until your heart pounds your chest and diving into the grass to catch a pass on your fingertips and, yes, about putting a shoulder into your opponent or reaching out and just barely catching his shoe to keep him from scoring. All from the sofa.

It’s about fun. It’s childlike, and for  a few hours a week, that’s worth holding onto.

Goodbye, football season.