Well, our long national nightmare is over.
The NFL preseason is finally over again.
I love football. Anyone who's ever known me, or heard me talk for more than 45 seconds is aware of that fact. In the season, every week I'll watch at least part of 10 NFL games, a dozen college games and an amount of highlights that my therapist refers to as "ridiculously obsessive," and my bookie calls "delightful."
Even I can't watch preseason games.
Preseason football is the McRib of the NFL, every year it's gone just long enough for us to forget how bad it really is.
There are a lot of guys who are great college football players, or who were the greatest thing anyone has ever seen coming out of their hometown. Those are the guys we always think will make it, the ones who dream of playing on Sundays, and winning Super Bowls, and getting their own Wheaties boxes and shoe deals.
The NFL preseason is where those dreams go to die.
It's a horrible way to look at it, I know. But if you watch football for any length of time, you'll see it happen again and again. It's a part of the process, a necessary winnowing of the talent. To succeed in the NFL, you need a very specific set of skills. And often, those skills have nothing to do with what made you successful at the lower levels.
Don't believe me? Harken back if you will (if "harken" is indeed actually a word), and remember that for about a 15-year period of time, winning a Heisman Trophy was a death-knell for a pro career. We enjoyed the Chris Weinkes and Rashaan Salaams of the college football world, and then we never really noticed them again.
Have you ever seen anyone walking around in a Jason White NFL jersey? No, it's impossible. At least Charlie Ward got an NBA jersey.
The NFL is a different world and it's a cruel process, and I love the sport, but I hate that process.
While we're burying the preseason, let's put to rest the thoughts of shortening it. We'd all love for the season to start two weeks earlier, but the preseason isn't going anywhere. It still serves an important purpose for NFL teams, and more importantly, people still pay for it.
The Hall of Fame Game, which is even worse than most preseason games, drew ratings better than conference championship games in other sports. Asking the NFL owners to give that back is like asking a tree to help you move into a new apartment. It's wasted breath.
No one would argue that preseason NFL games are boring, awful, hideous, wretched events that only are worth mentioning if someone on your favorite or fantasy team gets injured. I've watched forty-something years of NFL games, and the only time I ever remember a player coming out and actually becoming a star by a preseason performance was Victor Cruz. Everyone else is just fighting to make the roster.
And good for them! It's a huge struggle, and I support them. But I support them by watching reruns of "The Wire," and just checking the waiver wires once a week to see who's been cut.
But for those fringe players, the undrafted, small school players, aging veterans, and former Heisman Trophy-winning option quarterbacks, the preseason still gives them a chance to make it, even if those odds are just slightly greater than me walking out of my front door and winning the Boston Marathon.
Good luck to them. Just let me know if they made it next week. "Hard Knocks" is just too hard for me.
- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid's novel "The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape" is available from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him @reidaboutit.