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.