Playing the Field: The only things that can save preseason football – Tim Tebow, HBO and religion

Tebow trying to learn the secrets of the anti-Christ in order to destroy him.
Kevin Mazur

True story: I once paid $75 to sit in the upper, upper deck of Qualcomm Stadium to watch a San Diego Chargers – Seattle Seahawks preseason game.

At the time, I couldn’t really have cared less about either team, other than kind of hating the Chargers from time-to-time because of the whiny LaDainian Tomlinson and the childish Philip Rivers. Plus their fans were and still are quite annoying.

So getting queasy over their fan base and getting more material to make fun of them at a later date was really the only delight I would get out of this. I knew that going-in. Nonetheless, I was hungry for some football in August. One way or another, I would get my fix, I thought.

Then, it started.

The game was horribly played. Dropped balls everywhere you looked. Nary a run over three yards. Going to a competitive high school game would have been worlds better (have you seen the style they play in Southern California? Wide open, 40 yard field goals, the whole bit!). The starters were pulled by halftime. Three quarters of the crowd was gone by halftime. If I screamed out “F*** this is boring!!!!” at the top of my lungs from the nose-bleeds it would have been picked up on the ESPN broadcast clear as day.

We left midway through the third quarter. It was the first time I had ever left any sporting event anywhere that early. I knew right then and there, it was the worst $75 I had ever spent. It was unequivocally, undeniably the worst investment I had ever made. Watching two and a half hours of “growling cats” videos on YouTube would have been a much more productive way to spend a Monday night. This preseason game broke me as a man.

I was the definition of a sucker, playing into the hands of some giddy Chargers season ticket holder, who was absolutely delighted to have made a profit on something so dull. I think I even heard Chargers president Dean Spanos laugh directly at me as I made my way down the spiral ramps at Qualcomm that evening.

In essence, what I am trying to say is that preseason football is the biggest scam going. And going to training camp to watch guys run 40-yard dashes isn’t that far behind. Look, I get it. Non-baseball fans are bored stiff right now. They’ll take football any way they can get it.

But the lesson I learned that night is this: don’t blow your pigskin wad in July or August. Read a fantasy magazine for a couple of minutes at the beach and listen to half of an NFL preview podcast in late August and call it a day. The months September, October, November, December, January and early February should be cherished. By late September, you’ve already forgotten what your favorite team did in training camp or any preseason game, anyway. So slow your roll, football fans. You’ll get your fix soon enough.

Speaking of training camp

The only thing more boring than watching 300-pound men do up-downs for 10 minutes is attending church.

But apparently in Cortland, N.Y., you can do both at the same time this summer.

This, from the NY Daily News:

The Jets open their third training camp in four years at SUNY-Cortland later this month, the first time since 2010 (the 2011 lockout forced training camp to New Jersey), which was the focus of HBO’s series “Hard Knocks.” The town thought the interest from that show was big, but now, with the Jets’ new back-up quarterback and evangelical Christian icon Tim Tebow coming, the expectations are different, but may be bigger.

“A couple months ago, I got a call from a church group, then another and I thought it was interesting, not groups we normally get calls from,” said Jim Dempsey of the Cortland County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Right now, we have no way of knowing how many more groups will come because of Tim Tebow. But we expect a lot.”

Why isn’t HBO featuring the Jets on “Hard Knocks” again? You just know every time Tebow completes a 10-yard out in some meaningless Tony Sparano drill, that “Hallelujah’s!” are going to rain down on the sensitive ears of Mark Sanchez.

How could I be so naive? Preseason football and training camp CAN be entertaining. As long as one of two things happens:

1. HBO produces it. 2. Religion is involved.

Either way, there are sure to be fireworks. If this is what it will take to entertain us between now and Sept. 5, so be it.


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