Man, I love preseason football!
It sure is hard to go without the National Football League, which plays more nationally televised games across a shorter season than any other major American sport. Last season stretched from late August to early February with games on my TV on the majority of every day of the week, but that's not enough for me! I start craving the mere sight of defensive tackles and tackling dummies as soon as the last beer commercial during the Super Bowl airs.
Super Bowl is always so bittersweet. Why does football season have to be over already?— V L (@miss_vee28) February 8, 2016
I always try to be the first one to write about how long it is until kickoff-- you don't want to be the last robin to fly south for the winter! But you know what's better than the last robin? The first Cardinals, Eagles, Ravens, Falcons, and Seahawks of autumn! Those are all the football teams named after birds.
Man, preseason football! They don't even have to play a game; I'm just happy to see guys in their football pads and football neck rolls again. I write elegies to the sight of teammates getting into a manly spat on a scorching hot field. There's nothing like that! Real team-building right before our eyes!
Ahhhhhh! I waited 207 long days to see that bravado, with nothing but the free agency and cap maneuvering period, the NFL Combine, the NFL Draft, and three other major American sports to keep my attention. HOW DID I SURVIVE?!?
This year I got excited by OTAs. OTAs! It's when teams hold a minicamp in the spring that is totally voluntary but if you don't show up you might lose your job because your coach and teammates will lose respect for you.
OTAs are great, because it's another way to count down the days until I can finally see if that fourth string running back my team took in the sixth round might have what it takes to be a third down back by getting first half looks, something I was already doing for months anyway.
Some of you may think I'm jumping the gun. That maybe I should wait a few weeks until the actual REGULAR SEASON starts. And I hear you -- nothing gets my pulse pounding quite like the yearly punting competition my team holds even though we all know the incumbent guy will never lose his job -- but I went all-in on the mere chance to see my team's QB of the future take snaps with the first team offensive line.
Yes. HELL YES. If it were just pre, we would be asking, "Pre what? You can't just have something previous to nothing, sir." Just football, and we'd be putting these men in danger as you would be expecting them to go from zero to concussion with nary a warm up. Pre AND season, prefix and term: two great things that go great together, like peanut butter and chocolate, or Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. A taste of what's to come.
Am I overselling it? Hell no! CHECK THIS LEGENDARY SHIT OUT:
Brian Hoyer screaming in horror as he lets go of an interception is quality preseason.https://t.co/j4413G69HS— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) August 19, 2016
YOU CAN DEVOUR THE MOST DELICIOUS ANGUISH. Hearing the bleat of human despair really helped me feel like I was there.
Twitter is an excellent resource for reconstructing the magic of preseason if you can't afford the regular season prices to see a game that doesn't count. What you can count on is beat reporters and the official Twitter accounts of teams to give you motivational moments, sexy ass wank material, and players standing around as media stands around watching them stand around. In the fast-paced world of our digital age, beat reporters are especially tenacious about sharing these intimate portraits of our sporting heroes in the heat of the moment.
Of course, there's no substitute for actually attending training camp or preseason football, because it is America itself: full of bravado and thirst and the flexed muscle of competition, doomed to become a pop culture spectacle by frigid winter but let's not think about that right now.
"It feels so good the have America's favorite sport back, even though a meaningful game isn't played until September." [This one guy's blog]
YES. FUCK YES. Out of the parched earth I am born anew in Nike football pants, ready to bend a knee next to my helmet and pray this isn't the day I succumb to heat stroke. I blink at the sky, my dormant irises exposed to the harsh sun through my tinted visor. My right hand, partially blown away by fireworks, grips at a football like a 17-year-old Western lowland gorilla trying to save a child that has fallen from grace.
The smell of ground up soles and synthetic grass brings with it the memories of childhood, dollars earned with sweat and effort in the years before I got Jordans for Christmas. With every blow to the head, every JUGS-assisted catch, my senses come alive with the game that connects me to my childhood, when everything was better because I'm a white man. The nostalgia intersects with the trudging resignation of autumn, and I write stupid sentences.
For lo, this is preseason! It's like any other sport's fake practice games, except people like it.