92 Comments

We’re All Dupes.

| August 9th, 2018

As a Bears fan, writer, blogger, editor, Chicagophile, whatever the hell I am, the preseason always presents a particular dilemma when you live in The Grand Borough of Queens, NY and not in Lakeview or Lincoln Park or Lombard. Rarely are the games televised here and when they are it tends to be a half day after the fact. And if there’s anything worse than watching a live preseason game, it’s watching a preseason game replay thirteen hours later.

I don’t care about any of it, not a single snap, but it seems almost every other football fan on earth does. The preseason isn’t just a curiosity for die hards, which is what it used to be before NFL Network and the internet. (Same can be said for the NFL Draft.) The Hall of Fame Game, Bears vs. Ravens, featured mostly men who won’t play a relevant snap this entire football campaign.

It did 6.77 million viewers. Only ten programs this entire summer did a bigger number.

The decisive Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals didn’t approach this number. Now, the only hockey games I ever watch are at the Billy Goat with the Trib’s Rick Pearson and I’m usually far more interested in Rick’s political stories and getting the pickle-to-onion ratio correct on my third burger than Teemu Selanne’s shift in the third period. But that fact is downright insane.

So unless this space is going to return to it’s 2005 traffic patterns – where on a good day one of my brothers might read it – it’s probably best I continue writing shit people actually want to read. Even if I have to come up with ways to amuse myself whilst doing so.

Thus there I was on Monday, staring down the entry fields on the checkout page of NFL Game Pass, debating whether it’s worth $100 of my money to watch 4-5 quarters (maybe) of bullshit, practice football over the next few weeks.

There will be many who read that and think, “But Game Pass comes with the All-22 tape for the entire season!” Let me tell you something. A few years ago a friend of mine, then the head of pro personnel for an NFL franchise, sat down with me and showed me how to actually watch tape. I walked out of that dark, dark room with my head spinning. Watching the All-22 as a fan and thinking you can analyze it is the equivalent of attempting to write a book report on Hugo’s Les Miserables in its original text when you don’t read French. I had no idea what I was looking at. You don’t either. Embrace it.

I’ve done this before, the great Game Pass debate. I’ve thrown a good night’s drinking money into this sports toilet. I swore it would never happen again. But there I was Monday, ready to plug in the numbers off my VISA card, shaking my head and asking my lady cat Bea, “What the fuck is wrong with me?” She didn’t answer. I’d like to think it’s because she understood the question to be rhetorical but it’s probably because she’s a fucking cat.

I put the card away.


Alexa, play Harry Chapin.

          Shuffling songs by Harry Chapin…

                    Hello, honey it’s me…what did the kids say when they heard me on the radio?


I made a pot of Lavazza and did the dishes. Harry sang to me.

But I went back to the Game Pass page. Of course I did. I’m a fucking dupe. I’m like a gambling addict who keeps telling himself this will be the last wager. One more and I’m done.

Oh, wait! Eureka! There’s a seven-day free trial! Okay, that’s something. The next game is Thursday the 9th. Followed by Saturday the 18th. Followed by Saturday the 25th. The NFL is run by assholes, none bigger than its commissioner, but they knew what they were doing by making impossible for me to see two of the preseason games in one seven-day window.

I’d now spent over an hour trying desperately to secure sport’s worst product: the NFL preseason. Games that exist for one reason: to steal money from the pockets of fans.

Tickets should be free. They’re not. And worse, they’re forced on season ticket holders.

Access to the broadcasts should be free. They’re not. Even fans who throw down the hundreds of dollars for DirecTV Sunday Ticket don’t have access to meaningless, practice football. They have to shell out another hundred for out of market telecasts.

The NFL’s argument is these games matter. They’re important. Real fans watch em. All four quarters too! And we’re dupes because we believe it. Fans overwhelmingly watch. Writers fill space with what they see.

But why would these games matter? Why would any NFL franchise show their thirteen opponents what they plan to run and how they plan to run it? Why would any coach put on tape anything he intends to utilize when the games actually count? As an NFL GM has told me, “Our fifty-three is rarely, if ever, affected by the preseason.” So what are we ALL talking about?

Matt Nagy told the press gaggle in the lead-up to the Hall of Fame Game, “You don’t really do any game planning at all for pretty much the whole preseason.” This is a sport entirely about game-planning. These are games devoid of that pivotal element.

And yet as this post publishes on Thursday morning, I’ll still be debating popping those credit card numbers in. And you know what? I probably will end up doing it.

Because you’ll want the content tomorrow.

And I’m a fucking dupe.

Tagged: , , ,

  • EnderWiggin

    It is perfectly legal to watch a live stream online, just hosting it is illegal.
    I take pride in the fact that I am just as big of an NFL fan as most, but I will never sink $ into it (unless I happen to be at a bar).

  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

    I am with you, Jeff, about the Game Pass. I got it last year, and it was a good way to waste an hour or two a week instead of working, but I don’t think it was worth it. But the NFL is sneaky bastards, they got it setup to automatically renew each year, unless you go into your account settings and turn it off. Luckily I decided to open the email account I used, and saw the auto renewal email in time for me to log in and cancel. Otherwise I might have been stuck with it.

    • John F

      I have a Bank of America VISA and they allow you to create a temporary credit card number (it’s called Safe Pass) for any amount you want and it will have an expiration date two months in the future. That way for any of these “auto-renewal” scams, the “card” will be expired by the time the renewal comes around. I do this all the time for my online subscriptions and just make a new “card” when it comes time to renew. I also use it for any online purchases I make where I don’t totally trust the website. I just did it for the NFL Game Pass.

      • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

        Thats cool. Whats your account number?

        • John F

          8^|

  • catfish44

    Ray Lewis, and the Bubble That Has Sheltered Him. As the longtime Ravens linebacker—inarguably one of the best football players in history—is inducted into the Hall of Fame, let’s take a moment to reflect on the media environment that the league and its teams have created to protect players from the uncomfortable questions it’s our job to ask.——https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/08/04/ray-lewis-hall-fame-weekend-atlanta-murders

    • catfish44

      ray lewis – murderer?? football players are not gods.

  • Been sipping dark rum last 2 days. Random thoughts.
    Girls with pierced nipples, nah. Nice to look at, but when you bite, not as fun
    I may be switching from my long standing rule of tits over ass to big bootie. Or as some would say, THOTs
    NFL ILB is more safety than ILB. It’s all about flow
    Is Roq signed yet? It’s kinda embarrassing that the best MLBs i the past 20 yrs met at the HOF game, and Roq was doing whatever schmucks do in FL, maybe masturbating an alligator.

    I wanna hate Roq, but how can you hate on a guy who’s trying to milk Pace who paid Glennon $16M? Pace is lucky Roq doesn’t come over and grope his wife.

    Can Trubisky overcome the trauma of Fox?
    Is he stupid and young enough to do reverse bong shots?
    WHO is the face of the franchise?

    Helmet rule = no more hard hits

    Is getting a hand job cheating?

    Summation.

    6 wins

    • catfish44

      hate him? he’s just a working man trying to make the most money out of a relatively short career.

  • SC Dave

    I guess you know you have a problem when your decision over buying Gamepass is to compare it to a single night of drinking.

    Stay home, just one night, in the next five months and it’s paid for.

    Talk about false economies.

    • Scharfinator

      Ooof. Tough post, but I don’t disagree.

  • Big Mike

    I agree with most of what Jeff is saying, but the All 22 for me is one of my favorite parts of the season. But then again, I’ve been taught how to break down film. You can also call up a particular play, get a quick look at other teams using the “condensed version” The preseason hook is shit. I actually prefer to watch the preseason game’s after I’ve recorded them. I can get through them in about 30 minutes.

    • SC Dave

      Exactly how I watch them, and how I will watch tonight’s game. The best thing is being able to easily skip all the gibberish from the talking heads. Although any DVR can do that.

      I don’t really know how to break down film, but the more I watch, the more I see.

      • It’s easy to break down film SC.
        Did Cowerd get beat on a speed rush. Did Kwiat have a ball zoom right by his helmet. Did Fitts get road graded?

        Ppl make much ado about scheme.

        Football is a lot like boxing. Nowhere to hide. Better man usu wins

        (Unless ur talking about technical rewinding something)

      • Big Mike

        Quick tips for watching film

        Note the formation. How many TE, RB and WR, shotgun or Under Center

        Note the pre-snap movement if any

        Determine run or pass

        TAKE EYE OFF BALL

        Watch OL

        • SC Dave

          I always try to watch the line, unless I have a specific player I’m trying to “review”.

          I think you must know I’ve long been a proponent of the game being won in the trenches.

          • Big Mike

            That’s a great start, but identifying the formation, motion and run/pass gives you a much better idea of what you are looking at on the OL.

  • Scharfinator
  • Johnnywad

    This is the most thorough, and thoughtful piece I’ve seen written regarding Smith’s hold out.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-spt-bears-roquan-smith-holdout-contract-20180809-story,amp.html

    • SC Dave

      It’s pretty obvious this is all about CAA and Roquan merely a pawn in their eyes.

      The Bears should refuse to play, and not concern themselves one iota with any perceived “public relations fallout”.

      • Johnnywad

        Unless there are facts we don’t have, which may be so, I fail to see how Smith and CAA have ANY leverage.

        • SC Dave

          You’re right. I based my statement on the assumption that the information is both correct and more-or-less complete.

        • John F

          They only have leverage until the first regular season game. Then Roq will start missing game checks. He will get his signing bonus no matter what, but assuming he makes the typical base salary of $480,000 his first year, he will lose around $28,000 for every regular season game he misses. Unless he can convince CAA to cover those losses, he will be signed before game one.

      • Sactowns#1

        I’ll always back the players in these situations. You’re going to go out and sacrifice your body and mental capacity so some billionaire who has never worked a real job a day in his/her life can make even more money? Fck that. Stick to your guns Roq. Either the team will come around or you sue to become an unrestricted free agent and change this draft nonsense all together.

        • Johnnywad

          LOL. Boy do we disagree. He’s sacrificing his body so he can make 10s of millions of dollars, maybe even more than that, in a decade.

          There are so many occupations out there in the US alone that are far more dangerous than NFL football, that pay a fraction of what these guys get for a single game.

          I watched a guy fall off a roof, backwards and land on a sawhorse three stories below. He’ll never walk again. He was making $14 an hour. I know a guy that fell from a walkway inside of a nuclear containment area during a refueling shutdown. He laid in containment for a very long time until they could figure out how to get him out with a broken vertebrae. He took on too much radiation. He’s been fighting leukemia for the last few years. Coincidence? I doubt it. He was making 70k a year.
          Both of my grandfathers died of complications from illnesses they picked up working in hazardous manufacturing facilities.

          And, with each of those jobs, there’s a rich guy at the top making money. That’s how shit works.

          And we’re supposed to feel sorry for NFL players because they might suffer long term effects? Not me. These guys know what’s up. They’re choosing to play.

          • Sactowns#1

            Not feel sorry for them but understand how the free market operates. There are probably millions of people who could be roofers so demand isnt that high and thus pay isn’t either. But a highly skilled and specialized talent will always be worth more. Yes, many business owners are wealthy but not billionaires who inherited a sports team who only real product is the players on the field. What do these owners contribute to the end product? Inovation, invention, even a venue to showcase the product? Nope. Most dont even pay for or own the stadiums. It’s laughable.

          • AlbertInTucson

            “These guys know what’s up. They’re choosing to play”.

            This.

            “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it,”
            – Henry Cabot Henhouse, The Third. AKA, Super Chicken.

          • Sactowns#1

            Whenever I drop an anvil on someone that’s exactly what I tell them.

  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

    Preseason is meaningless in terms of your starting rosters and game planning, but I don’t get the idea that Preseason is totally meaningless. GMs may say their 53 man rosters do not depend on the preseason games, however if it was meaningless then why do GMs sign rookies from other teams when released when rosters are cut down. What are they basing their evaluations on? I understand signing vets getting cut but why would a GM decide to sign a Joe Smo rookie that was just cut by another team? How would they know that rookie is better than the guy they had in camp all summer?

  • AlbertInTucson

    “We’re All Dupes.”

    Speak for yourself, thank you.

    • leftcoastdave

      I am a fan which is short for fanatic. Don’t tell me I don’t get to see nothing. Each time Bullard or RRH make a play, I love it! Each pass caught, I love it!
      Sorry, its just what I like to watch for entertainment.

      • AlbertInTucson

        Yes, fan is short for fanatic.

        But not every fan is a fanatic.

        Colin use that convenient, crappy, rationale to dismiss anyone who disagrees with him.

        • SC Dave

          Does anyone know, let alone care, what that asshole says?

          • AlbertInTucson

            I stopped listening long ago.

            Just wanted to point out that not every fan is a fanatic.

          • Malice Halice

            I reside in the grey area I hope. Usually I’m quite hoarse after a bears game.

  • Bobby Douglass

    Great column. This is one of the reasons I come here everyday. Don’t do it Jeff!

    • AlbertInTucson

      I disagree.

      “We’re all Dupes” is painting with a very wide, indiscriminate brush.

      You think you’re a “Dupe”?

      • Bobby Douglass

        I don’t think he was talking to me. Preseason is mostly meaningless and the overreaction by both fans and the media is way over the top.

        But… I still watch *sometimes*. So yeah, in this definition I am a dupe.

        • SC Dave

          So by making a choice of how you spend your time and money, you’re a “dupe”?

          I would call that someone enjoying some of the liberty we still have left.

          • Bobby Douglass

            I’m sorry, I just don’t take offense to the title of his post nor to any of the content. I enjoyed the read. Next time I’ll just email Jeff directly when I enjoy something he’s written.

          • AlbertInTucson

            You don’t have to feel offended just because I took exception.

            I’m sure more than one person will think me thin-skinned and/or hyper sensitive.

            I just try to avoid name-calling and I don’t have any patience for it when I see it.

            I think “We’re all dupes” is name-calling, even if he includes himself.

        • AlbertInTucson

          Yes, he was talking to all of us.

          “We’re all dupes” is an all-inclusive phrase.

  • AlbertInTucson

    BTW, the W.O.L.D lyric is…

    “Hello, honey, it’s me,
    What did you think when you heard me back on the radio?
    What did the kids say when they knew it was their long-lost daddy-oooo?

    Saw Harry Chapin live, twice, here in Tucson.

    Great shows.

    The first one was at Centennial Hall on the UA Campus.

    Summer of ’79 or ’80.

    The (Great) concert ended.

    Nobody in the audience would leave.

    They came back did another encore and the left the stage.

    Still, nobody would leave.

    They turned off the power in the auditorium.

    Still, nobody would leave.

    So Harry and and his cellist, Tim Scott, came back out and did a couple more encores, acoustically.

    Then, Harry stayed around in the lobby to sign t-shirts for anybody who bought one for his world hunger campaign.

    If you only want 1 Harry Chapin “album”, I recommend “Greatest Stories – Live.”

  • Jokey

    If you’re spending $100 bucks, get Hulu instead. You’ll get Bears preseason and more. Cancel anytime.

    • Jokey

      I might be wrong here, I could be recording off a local channel actually.

  • Malice Halice

    I definitely understand that itch. Last year, my girl wouldn’t let me get game pass cuz her friend’s boyfriend had direct tv so I could watch da bears games there (had to watch da Vikings live first tho) the 3 of em could give 2 fucks about da bears so I’d be alone in someone’s house screaming n shit, chatting u gents here while they’re out having fun cuz da queens most likely won. His eldest Italian Mastif hated me cuz all i did was yell n startle her basically EVERY PLAY. Now since I found a bears bar I won’t need to get game pass nor have to see da queens win. It was horrible honestly

    • leftcoastdave

      Women. Can’t live with them and . . . .

      • Malice Halice

        I’m sayin man, I’m counting the days she gonna allow me to go to the bar by myself cuz it Was MAD honeys in there last week.

        • leftcoastdave

          MAD honeys lovin’ football and beer?

          Now that is worth the price of admission!

    • Sactowns#1

      What Bears Bar did you find? how would you rate it on a scale of swank to “bring your own glass to ensure its clean”

      • Malice Halice

        It’s called Alery’s it’s downtown Saint Paul, it’s a very welcoming environment to be a cop bar. It was clean but the got a pizza oven behind the bar next to the taps! I’m not finna spend 13 bucks on frozen pizza that’s not even Home Run Inn at minimum. I’m going back today for my 2nd trial.

        • BenderMcLugh

          chicago-style za?

          • Malice Halice

            Naw man! It was a thin crust!

          • BenderMcLugh

            Jake’s style, nice

        • Sactowns#1

          Yeah, frozen pizza at the bar is garbage. I’m going to head to this place tonight, mostly because the food looks legit! http://www.hobnobgrille.com/

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            Been there, I did not think it was anything special

      • KentuckyBearsFan

        “bring your own glass to ensure its clean”

        that’s funny. I’m drinking in a plastic cup at home because I KNOW none of my glasses are clean.

    • 505Bears

      Still have the girl, or did she get kicked to the curb too?

  • beninnorcal

    I’m a dupe. But I didn’t get it for preseason games. I signed up because this year will be the first time in 10 years that I won’t have the Ticket thru Directv. I’m getting the streaming version of the ticket, so in order to rewatch games, which I always do, I shelled out another hundred bucks.
    I’m a sucker, but I’m ok with it.

    • Sactowns#1

      How much did you have to pay for the streaming version?

      • evantonio

        zero if you go on reddit. 🙂

        • BenderMcLugh

          those reddit links never work for me. installing kodi on a FireTV and adding a few sports streaming kodi apps has worked before, but never good quality. I’m back on DTV this year. WOMP.

          • SC Dave

            To say nothing of breaking the law every week.

          • BenderMcLugh

            Pfffftttt laws are created to be broken

          • EnderWiggin

            Kodi/Firestick is great for TV shows and movies, but it kicks my ass trying to stream something live.

          • evantonio

            i found bilasport dot net from reddit. it’s the jam. no ads, near-HD quality. test it out for baseball games tonight and you’ll see.

    • SC Dave

      Gamepass works from Aug 1 until the Super Bowl is over for the same $100.

      • AlbertInTucson

        About halfway thru the season the cut the price. Also you can do a free trial with the only catch being YOU have to cancel at the end of the trial opr they assume you want it.

      • KentuckyBearsFan

        I am so conflicted. That sounds like a decent deal.

        But it also would feel like paying Goodell $100 to suck my dick.

        And I lose interest in sports the last few years if something important comes up.

  • Players I’m gonna look for.
    Irving-Fitts
    Cowerd
    Wimms
    Ayers
    Miller
    What lil of Trub they play

    • leftcoastdave

      Add Daniels at C most of the night as well as Nichols, JB and RRH in the trenches. Da Bengals have had some trouble with their O line as I recall and I’d love to see some get off and sack action coming up the middle.

    • Malice Halice

      Same, as well as I’m hoping Ry-Nall redeem himself against this iffy Bengals defense. Kevin White should play an entire half in my opinion, preferably the first half. I like to think the plethora of replays give me a chance to watch other guys behind the scene of the play such as blocking, reaction time to the ball, etc.

  • willbest

    Last year the preseason was totes meaningful because ROOKIE QB ZOMG!

    I fail to see how that doesn’t hold this year given that Trubisky didn’t exactly impress in his 330 NFL passing attempts last year. Is getting a brand new offense and effectively a brand new receiving corp

  • Cubsnlinux

    Is tonight’s game on TV?

    • willbest

      probably if you are local.

      • if you’re not, google Reddit NFL streams. They’ll have a few links, one of them should work (you’ll want adblocker though).

        • SC Dave

          How does reddit not get shut down, being little more than an accessory to crime?

          • I have no idea. But they have a forum for streaming any sport you want.

            I’m guessing it’s because they’re not the ones actually streaming illegally. But I really don’t know.

          • willbest

            If you don’t regulate content, you aren’t responsible for the content, as long as you take it down when you are provided with notice of copyright breach.

      • AlbertInTucson

        And NFL Network will replay it Saturday morning, 4am EDT.

    • AlbertInTucson

      Pretty sure the Bears have made their only National TB appearance of the exhibition season.

  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

    new thread

  • LittleBro

    I’d forward this to many more people if it wasn’t for the language. The author is purposefully excluding portions of a much larger marketplace. It’s bad business, plain and simple.

  • T. Pain

    Jeff bruh you ever heard of free online streams?

    • KentuckyBearsFan

      Or the power of alcohol during the weekend.

  • KentuckyBearsFan

    I would only feel like a dupe if I PAID to go to a preseason game.

    The NFL timed the stupid preseason almost perfectly.

    Before the baseball playoffs.

    And before the NBA starts.

  • KentuckyBearsFan

    Hell, as a Bears fan last few years…the regular season was meaningless. It feels like that sometimes when not being anywhere close to the playoffs.

    I was mostly reading about it in the news, looking at the box score, going shit, and posting on this blog.

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