You know the sound.
One of your buddies calls you up offering to sell his ticket to the game for cheap. Or you found out that you won the office drawing for a free pair of those good corporate seats. Or you get an invite to watch the game on somebody's 50-inch plasma, free food included.
It's all good for a moment—even if it's just a half-second—until you're reminded that the big game is actually a preseason game.
Then there's the sound: something between a groan and the audible version of a shrug—the unmistakable clue that you're no longer dealing with a "real" pro football game.
That said, the opening week of the NFL exhibition schedule still holds intrigue all over the league. Rookies make their debuts, first-year coaches unveil some of their new plans, veterans who changed teams over the summer show their faces in new places and, most importantly, good ol' American football is back.
For the Seattle Seahawks, tonight's preseason opener at San Diego (ESPN, 5 p.m. Pacific) has its share of interesting story lines. Year 2 of the Pete Carroll era has been heavy in roster turnover and changes on the coaching staff, leaving the defending NFC West champs looking like almost a totally different team. Here are seven things to watch during the Seahawks-Chargers matchup.