The preseason is absolute garbage—that's the adage, and it's mostly true. How the NFL gets away with charging real cash money for a bunch of hopeless cases—who, after the preseason is over, will be driving ice cream trucks—is one of the great travesties of capitalism. 'Merica.
Now, real football is just hours away. The angels are singing. The trumpets are blaring.
Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen; football is here.
The preseason means nothing, except in some cases it yields small clues as to what we're going to see in Week 1. Clues of the chaos to come. Or the greatness to emerge. Or something in between. You can even gauge just how much depth a franchise will have for this first week and beyond.
In New York, will Rex Ryan still stink at managing an offense?
In San Francisco, will the 49ers team that showed almost no flaws in preseason continue that trend?
In Chicago, Jay Cutler is still a knucklehead; the Cardinals are alive again, thanks to Carson Palmer; and the Raiders still stink.
Grading teams' preseasons is a little like watching modern art. One man's squiggly line is another man's meaning of life.
And these grades are the "Mona Lisa" of evaluations.
Just to be clear: They are preseason grades, often reflecting particular aspects of teams that should be making fans feel good, bad or in between. They are not intended to always line up with the teams' chances of overall success over the next five months.
So, let's look back, sideways and mostly forward, to real football.
Week 1 is here.