NFL Preseason 2010: Why We Care (And Maybe Why We Shouldn't)
We are already through the second week of semi-meaningless games, and the attention to all of them both on TV and here on the sports blogs is over the top.
Games where there are as many penalties called as there are crappy local announcers mangling the rookie players' names.
We are so tied up into who is going to make the roster, who is going to be starting, who is...blah, blah, blah.
Will He or Won't He?
I do get a bit worried when I see more coverage of "Is Brett Back in Minnesota" than I do of how many troops died in Afghanistan today.
Does that mean Gramps Favre's return or non-return is more important than the information on those brave troops that gave their lives so we could all watch 24/7 coverage of Favre's return to the fold to see if he can break his own interception record?
No. All it means it we just had a brief respite from all that we find disturbing and wrong and beyond our control in the rest of the world.
Favre's huge ego and his desire to sit out training camps are great reasons for his actions. But are they really so important that it takes 24/7 coverage on every sports news outlet in the free world?
Who Are These Guys?
We follow every play, every roster movement, every comment coming out of every training camp. Do we REALLY know any more than we did the day before? Are we REALLY inside the minds of the coaching staff?
Or do we just think we have more insight, more information than the average "non-believer" amongst us?
BTW, can anyone outside of the New York metro area identify who this guy is? And will he be on the final Giants roster?
Is It Just Me?
Or is it all the other football junkies that hang on every word, every Tweet, every comment from ESPN talking heads? Sure, they have their very own "campus" at Bristol, CT and all, but do they REALLY know that much more than we do?
And can a guy with that hair who never played in the NFL know that much more about the future of newly drafted players than I do? After all, isn't he the one who predicted that JaMarcus Russell was a "Can't Miss?"
Are the Four Meaningless Games Worth all the Injuries?
I know, you can't play a man's game without getting some injuries. And you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Yada, yada, yada.
I know too that some of those injuries come during the week of training camp, not always during the games. But when teams like the Denver Broncos have an injury list longer than the entire roster of an NBA team, you have to wonder if playing four games is the right thing to do.
Solutions? I am not sure, but I do think that making at least two of those games into regular season games or maybe just removing a couple from the schedule might work. Of course, the owners don't want to give up all that "free" revenue since players don't get a paycheck for these "meaningless" games.
Maybe It Is Getting Us Ready for Fantasy Football
Can there be a more insidious time bandit than Fantasy Football? It is all that you hear at water coolers, at bars, at bus stops, even at football games!
I am not sure of the statistics, but my guess would be that about 97.6 percent of American males and maybe five percent of American females (A cool way to meet guys?) are seduced each season into this mega-phenomenon.
There are leagues for just about every kind of owner, and the truth is many, many owners are in more than one league.
This has gotten to the point where a writer from a well-respected newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle's Peter Hartlaub, had a recent article discussing a test to measure whether you need to go to Fantasy Football rehab.
Here is a short excerpt from that article:
"Below is a very scientific quiz designed to determine whether you need to go into fantasy football rehab. Most of the following is based on real-life examples. Just answer the questions, add up the points and look at the Fantasy Football Obsession Index table at the end of the quiz. You may need access to a calculator and Google Maps...
1. Did you bring any of the following to your last fantasy football draft:
1. A fantasy football magazine (3 points)
2. A clipboard (15 points)
3. A laptop (30 points)
4. A hooker (150 points)
2. Have you participated in your fantasy football draft on any of the following days:
1. A work day (10 points, 30 if you called in sick)
2. Your child or spouse's birthday (50 points)
3. The funeral or wedding of a close friend/relative (100 points)
4. Your own wedding day (500 points)"
You get the idea.
If you want to read the entire article—and trust me, it is worth it—click here.
So maybe, just maybe, preseason games are here to not only line the pockets of the REAL NFL owners, but to allow FF owners a chance to see their potential (and maybe already drafted) stable of players perform before the start of the real season.
After all my ranting and raving, I will leave you with a few closing thoughts:
Do I watch preseason games? HELL YES!
Do I watch them just for the talent in pads? HELL NO!
Do I count down the days between the Super Bowl, the NFL draft (I don't consider the Pro Bowl an actual NFL activity), and the start of training camp? HELL YES!
Am I a complete stooge for anything NFL and read every article and blog, listen to Mike and Mike every morning, and even watch Mel Kiper, Jr. during the draft? The answer to all those questions is HELL YES!
No apologies—just an incurable NFL football fanatic.