Friday, August 26, 2005

Preseason Spoiled By Success
By Ben Valentine

Let me say this first: I’ve never liked the NFL preseason. It’s too long. It’s boring. And the only thing to look for is the countdown until somebody important on your favorite team gets hurt.

But this year it’s particularly brutal, though for good reason.

The Jets are my favorite of all my teams, so normally I start to get geared up for the season around the third preseason game. It’s usually when the starters go more for a half, the intensity is returning to the game and for the first time it seems like football season again.

Maybe it's because I've seen 5-0 preseason teams fail to win 4 games the whole year. Or maybe it's because the Jets don't seem complete with a vital piece like John Abraham missing. It could be because remarkably each year I care less and less about the preseason. But then again, it could be just because the Mets are doing something worth noticing.

For the last four years, around this time I’ve had nothing to root for except hoping the Mets showcased a decent young player. Ultimately that meant I didn’t see much aside from David Wright last year. This year however, the boys from Flushing sit a mere 1.5 games out of a playoff spot as play begins on this Friday, August 26th. And let’s be realistic here, with the Mets in the hunt, why on earth should I care about a Jets vs. Giants meaningless game? Well it was my first real football since last year. I was pumped.

Then the game started.

I only could sit through one half, and that was agonizing enough. Sloppy play, awful decision making, horrific commentary…. I felt like I was watching an XFL game. Chad Pennington, after a solid first drive, looked lost after throwing a pick to end that drive. He fumbled and threw another INT at the Giant one yard line. I didn’t get much out of the receivers because of Pennington’s poor play. The D-Line looked lost at times and the secondary porous.

And yet, not once did I get mad. Not once did I get frustrated. I just didn’t care. Not even as the announcers went crazy over a Jay Feely 54 yard field goal to give the Giants a 9-7 lead at half. (Yeah the game was that good)

I had been planning to write up my thoughts about the state of the Jets after this game, but in the end I just didn’t feel it necessary. What did this half prove? Nothing to me. I believe Pennington will be fine. I think John Abraham will eventually get into camp. I think Ty Law will play himself back into shape. In the end, no matter what I saw on the screen, penalties, picks, fumbles and drops, I just couldn’t shake the fact that it was a preseason game. Still I did my best to stick around until Pennington left the game, which mercifully happened in early in the 3rd quarter.

So after wasting an hour and a half of my life, I turned off the game and got ready for Mets baseball. Steve Trachsel’s return has an actual immediate impact on the standings, so I care.

And on September 11th, I’ll care about the Jets again too. But until then, football is about as interesting as the Kansas City Royals batting order. It’s something you might tune in occasionally just because it’s there, but it isn’t something you aren’t going to pay any real attention to.

Or at least you shouldn't.


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