I woke up this morning and all of Twitter and Facebook were abuzz with three simple words: Football is back.
And I’m here to tell you, no, it is in fact not back. Not until Colorado State and Oregon State play on August 26 at 2:30 p.m ET. Or, if you prefer your football of the professional variety Alaba…(KIDDING), the first NFL game is set for September 7 when the Patriots host the Chiefs.
But until either of those dates, football is not back.
The preseason starts tonight with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. A game so prestigious they didn’t play it last year because the field melted or they used the wrong paint, or some other crap like that. When really, nobody wanted to play anyway and the field was just a convenient excuse to get out of glorious Canton as fast as possible.
A game with so much history and honor that, well…the teams playing in it don’t want to be there because it’s an extra meaningless game where players could get hurt. The Cowboys and Cardinals take the field tonight, and Bruce Arians is already really excited to be there. Just look:
Cardinals HC Bruce Arians tells reporters starters won’t play at all in Thursday’s Hall of Fame game. But field looks good.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 1, 2017
Oh yeah, football is back. Nothing screams “back” like watching guys who have no chance of being on the actual regular season roster play three-quarters of the game and a final score of 16-14, with all the points coming on field goals or safeties.
Football is not back until the games count for real, there is absolutely ZERO stock that can be put in the preseason. One year the Lions went 4-0 in the preseason. They went 0-16 when the games counted that year. Football is back.
There is absolutely nothing good that can come out of playing four (of if you’re in the game tonight, five) pointless games that don’t count for anything other than a chance for the owners to bilk you of your money. You go out, hand the ball of 40 times so the clock runs as fast as possible, and pray that nobody of any substance gets injured. That’s it.
And for some reason, it’s just football that does this. Celebrating the preseason returning like the first day of spring. Yes, when baseball heads to spring training it’s a big deal, but that’s more because people in cold cities get a chance to see grass and warm weather than it is about baseball being back. When the NBA or NHL preseason starts, nobody is parading around yelling, “Basketball is back!” or “Hockey is back!” Because that’s stupid, and the games don’t mean anything.
And yet, for some reason we have to make it a big deal that two teams will trot out their 3rd and 4th stringers tonight because…shit, I don’t even know why we’re excited. Because it’s one step closer to football actually being back? It’s an excuse not to watch Game 102 of the MLB regular season?
So until actual games start in college football or the NFL, don’t give me this, “Football is back!” crap.