Remember that rather mournful Green Day ballad of a few years back, "Wake Me Up When September Ends''? I feel roughly the same way about August and the NFL's 65-game preseason schedule.
It's not accurate to say that I loath this time of year on the NFL calendar, but it's entirely fair to say I don't like it. And I do believe I'm in the vast majority on this issue, otherwise why would league commissioner
And the Lions weren't the only examples last preseason. New England went 0-4, holding
Can most fans (or players for that matter) even remember their team's exhibition season record even a month into the regular season? When it's first team versus first team for maybe the first quarter, it's watchable and somewhat usable as a measuring stick. After that, it's just a glorified scrimmage, at regular-season ticket prices.
Just look at how many preseason games swing decidedly on the third-teamers' showing in the fourth quarter after the first team's performance in the first quarter told an entirely different story (see Redskins 17-13 over the Steelers last weekend). It's a little like watching a movie that was scripted and directed by one person in the first hour, and then ended by someone else.
But in reality, there are not a bunch of teams with a free-for-all of job openings or roster slots. Most teams have only a handful of positions at stake, and in a lot of cases you're talking about rosters that are practically set except for maybe three or four players who will play on special teams and provide depth as backups. New England probably could have picked 48 or 49 of its final 53-man roster the day before training camp opened.
And while quarterback competitions might be fun, how many fans really locked in on the Patriots' long-snapping competition, or the intense battle that just got decided at center for the Packers? What? You weren't aware that
There's a ragged, helter skelter-like quality to the football in August, and while that can be entertaining for about five minutes, it's like watching an hour-long blooper reel. I'm not immune to the lure of seeing the young, hungry player trying to make his mark in the league as a long shot, but the interceptions, fumbles, false starts, holding penalties, incompletions and pass interference calls all start to blend together and leave you bleary eyed and longing for the clarity of the regular season. (Unless you're a Raiders fans. Then the sloppiness never really ends.)
I might enjoy seeing a player or two who I've tracked from the NFL draft to the field in August -- like Patriots seventh-round pick