Don’t Rely on Preseason Scores for the Truth
~ Amy Lignor
Everyone knows, or should, that preseason games in the NFL are mostly to see if the ‘newbies’ are going to make it out alive. They are also for the coaches to assess new defenses, new offense structures and techniques, as well as new plays that may or may not work out. There are so many teams that did incredibly poorly last season, that these preseason games are necessary beyond belief this time around in order to see if they can do ANYTHING right, and at least show some spark and fire that they have been missing for a while.
There were, however, extremely interesting games to watch thus far. The Bears and the Eagles was a stunner, with fans hopping up and down and newscasters acting as if the score actually counted. This was a comeback, and showed the Bears almost as they were long ago, when nobody could stop their drive. The Eagles were not exactly bad; they had the lead going into halftime at 21-14, so this actually felt like a real, live football game. And, as any football fan will tell you, it was the adrenaline shock they needed to break their lethargic summertime blues and look forward to September.
But…let’s be real. There actually was a game that did matter in a lot of eyes – especially the eyes that were extremely angry when the Seahawks took the Lombardi Trophy from Denver’s hands last season. The Broncos are everyone’s favorite…or, at least, in the top three of favorites. They were the ones supposed to win the Super Bowl, yet the Seahawks – with their brashness and yapping – came in and won. This time, however, they did not.
Yes, it was too little too late, but the Broncos sewed up every category you could imagine in a game. Third-down conversions, turnovers, sacks, and, of course, the end score – Denver basically nailed Seattle to the wall. And, as always, the Seahawks attitude came forth and they acted just like they did all last season – like spoiled kids on the playground. Can this be said honestly? Yes, actually, it can. (Sorry, Seahawks fans). You can stand up for them and shout their names from the rooftops like their gods for the rest of time, but it was incredibly clear to ALL NFL fans that Seattle is just an anomaly like the Ravens were when they took the Super Bowl.
Tharold Simon, Seahawks cornerback, was actually disqualified after striking Broncos tight end Gerell Robinson in the helmet. Yes, there is always yapping on the field, and flags are thrown for penalties – that’s the game. This is not a little girls’ tea party. But to be disqualified? Come on!
Speaking of those Ravens, they have to be happy. San Francisco (who, let’s face it, has spent more money than you can possibly think of to create this football team that they want to become a new 49ers dynasty), fell to the ravens 23-3. Can the score be relied on, and should Harbaugh run for cover? No. First and second-year players got some on the field time, and Harbaugh sat back and observed, RB Carlos Hyde do well, and defensive players, such as, DT Quinton Dial, and DT Tank Carradine (whose first name definitely fits his playing style) do very well. Harbaugh watched carefully, and even though the score did not show it, he kept his smile after seeing that dynasty in the back of his mind grow even more realistic.
There were others – interesting others that bring about a wave of excitement for the new season. Eli Manning looks like a tiger after fresh meat, and when it comes to new QB’s, the one everyone is watching, Johnny “Football” Manziel, actually looked like an NFL player as he took over from Hoyer and showed Cleveland fans that he most definitely is a plus to have around.
End result? The preseason is definitely bringing some stars into focus, and showing the negatives where they exist. New players are being ‘buzzed’ about, and the defending champions have already begun their march to either back-to-back glory…or becoming one of the most despised teams in the NFL.