Megan Gailey is one of our favorite stand ups. She’s also more knowledgeable than everyone on the BYT staff about sports so we’re asking her about sports. Today’s column answers the question, should I watch preseason football?
Preseason football gets a lot of bad press. It’s pointless, stars are at risk for injury, there are fights at team scrimmages and it’s boring to watch undrafted rookies. All of that stuff is true but I still get swept up in all the NFL foreplay.
My dad loves it.
If asked, he’ll say he doesn’t but it’s the only time of year he can actually emotionally enjoy a game. For some crazy people, the stakes of the regular season are so high that it takes a lot of fun out of it. My dad sent me (unsolicited) play-by-play text analysis during the Colts first preseason game. If I asked him anything Colts related from mid-September on his response would be: “got too upset. Turned it off. Mom made me go in the backyard.” The preseason is a time when some guys are playing in the only NFL games they’ll ever be a part of. That gives a fun “take your daughter to work day” vibe. Don’t think about the fact that they’re going to get cut and all of their hopes and dreams are going to come crashing down. Think about the first date, not the break up!
NFL games are expensive. The tickets, food, jerseys, etc. It’s a cost many people can’t afford. But preseason games are cheap and close enough to the real deal to trick every orphan going to their first football game. And training camp practices are FREE! You’ll also get closer to the players than you ever could at the stadium. It’s a chance to see stars up close, interact with them and see how strong, fast and huge they are. The crappy towns, they’re inevitably in, need the revenue too.
For a while I’ve thought Veep was the best show on TV and I still love it with all my heart, but HBO has really outdone itself with the Hard Knocks series. It goes inside one NFL’s training camp and preseason. Teams don’t want to do it, they’re actually exempt if they have a new coach or made the playoffs the previous year, but as a fan of football, I can not get enough. They don’t just focus on football either. Texans JJ Watt and Vince Wilfork had a ten minute conversation about how much they love breakfast that I could have watched just that for 4 episodes. You see the players on their off days, buying clothes, hugging their tiny babies, at the zoo, basically being humans. They tend to focus on the rookie class trying to make the team. You feel for these guys as they face the biggest moment in their football lives. There’s tons of fun expletives, big ol’ linemen with southern accents talking about The Real Housewives and weird team traditions of cutting rookies’ hair to look as ugly as possible. It’s probably the best reality show on television, with the tightest turnaround. And without the preseason, it wouldn’t exist!
Yes, the preseason sucks. And if you’re a millionaire megastar, I can understand your hatred of it. But for the poor fans and the tiny rookies and those of us with an HBO GO password, it’s still pretty fun.