The stories are smaller than during the regular season—but that's why they're fascinating
Don't you dare hate on the NFL Preseason. Don't you dare say it doesn't matter. Did you see Pete Carroll jumping around on the sidelines last night when his Seahawks scored twice in the last four minutes to beat the Chargers 24-17? He was thrilled. OK, granted. Pete Carroll celebrates like that after making a sandwich. And, yes, Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung seems bent on emulating Greg Oden's career. So what? The NFL preseason still rules. Yes. I said it. Rules. It's okay to watch—and not in that shame-faced “At least there's some kind of football on” that most fans do. Embrace it.
Everybody loves baseball's Spring Training, after all. A few pitchers and catchers trundle down to the Sun Belt, and every fan in the country waxes rhapsodic over the Rites of Spring. But just a few months later, when NFL Training Camps open, those same fans are often first to join the chorus of griping about the NFL's preseason. Why? What makes MLB's exhibition season a beloved slice of Americana, while pro football's version is so reviled?
Oh, you'll complain that the stars don't play. Bill Belichick, for instance, sat several key players last night in the Patriots' 47-12 thrashing of Jacksonville. Yes, including Tom Brady. Who cares? We already know what Brady can do. The point, and the pleasure for Pats' fans anyway, was in seeing how remarkably Brady-like the New England backups Brian Hoyer and rookie Ryan Mallett looked running the Patriots' complicated offense.