Almost Kickoff

The Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio on Sunday night took three hours and twenty minutes to play in a high school stadium. The level of play bordered on putrid for the majority of the tilt. Then again, it was football and I watched most of the game.

I haven’t said been able to say that for a while.

The Ravens host the Panthers for a meaningless exhibition on Thursday night to kick off the preseason special. No one – not even me – remembers how a team does in the preseason. Still, everyone enjoys at least a quarter of the game.

It’s a month-long sorbet for fans starving for football. The preseason is meant to whet your appetite. Nothing more than that.

A preseason game reminds me of a party that starts off with a bang and ends with host running out of refreshments. It gets dry late in the third quarter.

It’s a great teaching tool for coaches who use these games to cut a bloated roster down to those familiar names that we see every Sunday afternoon.

The fans, especially in the fourth quarter, couldn’t care less. The majority of patrons leave around halftime at these games. The final scores only matter to those who have a financial interest.

The idea that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has to make the regular season 18 games and eliminate a pair of preseason games seems like a slam dunk next year. If there is a next year with football.

For now, enjoy the preseason. Yeah, I don’t know who’s playing in the fourth quarter either. But at least they are playing football games again.

You can’t beat that.

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