Fantasy Football has completely changed my sunday allegiances by matthudson14
September 24, 2010, 4:45 pm
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By Matt Hudson

Last summer, when I was interning at ESPN Radio, the topic of fantasy football was broached while on the air.  I didn’t have very strong feelings about it, having never played it, and not really knowing anyone that was too serious about it.  Yet from observing from afar, it kind of felt like Guitar Hero originally felt to me – something for wannabes to do to make them feel like they were a part of something greater.  

When we talked about it on the air, one of our producers made the mistake of saying that fantasy football was for losers.  The dozens of people who called in soon thereafter could not have disagreed more.  Yet their passion for “Dungeons and Dragons for jocks” was still not enough to get me interested. 

This year, I still had reservations about it, because I wasn’t sure I would want to take any time setting up, and then following a team.  Then came the draft, complete with rookies, sleepers, and Ben Roethlisberger in the later rounds, and I actually started to care.  Now, I’m addicted.  And the strange part about it all is that it has completely altered the way I watch football on Sundays.  Normally, I watch the entire Colts game, bits and pieces of others, and highlights on NFL Network or ESPN. 

Now, every game that a player of mine is involved in, I’m watching as intently as a virgin watches his computer screen on a Saturday night.  Michael Vick may have been exciting before, but try watching him when your fantasy livelihood is on the line.  And even though fantasy football has increased my interest in NFL games I would normally be indifferent to, part of it bothers me – the part that has me rooting for players on San Diego and New England.  

I tried my best to avoid picking players on teams that I hate, but could I really pass up Ryan Mathews in the 5th round?  Looking back, I wish I had.  But in fantasy football, you have to be objective, not only picking players for teams that you like, but also teams that you despise. 

The good news is, I didn’t draft anyone on the Jets, so I can continue hating them.  It really is awkward though.  Like last weekend, I picked up New England’s defense because I figured after week one, Mark Sanchez was good for at least three interceptions.  So in a game in which I would normally be rooting for a tie, I was rooting my ass off for New England, a team that I’ve hated without reservation for a decade.  And not only did New England not win, but their defense got me one freakin’ point.  I should have known never to root for the Patriots. 

And as much as I’ve hated the Chargers, Jets, Steelers, and New England over the course of the years, I have found myself hating Jahvid Best, C.J. Spiller, and the Falcons’ medical staff more than any of those teams in the past couple weeks.

As much as it bothers me rooting for teams that I don’t like, the added advantage of fantasy football is that if your favorite football team loses that week, your fantasy team can still be your saving grace.  I couldn’t have been more pissed off about how the Colts game went in week one, yet, my fantasy team won, so my weekend wasn’t a total loss.  Is that bad? 

Is it bad that I want to see a convicted felon put up better numbers than Peyton Manning?  Is it bad that I was a little bit happy to see Hakeem Nicks score at the end of the Colts game?  Is it bad that I’d rather hang out with Matthew Berry than Halle Berry?  6 weeks ago, I would have said yes to all of those.  But now, I have a league to win. 

Maybe my observations are five years late.  Maybe everyone already knew everything I just said.  Maybe you already hate Jahvid Best as much as I do.  But ultimately, it’s just a game, and at the end of the day, we still go back to rooting for our favorite team over our fantasy team.  Right?


Parity is the law of the land in today’s NFL by matthudson14
September 20, 2010, 3:38 pm
Filed under: Matt Hudson, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

By Matt Hudson

One of the main reasons the NFL has taken over every other sport as the premiere sport in this country is due to the unbelievable amount of parity that there is in the league.  For every 2008 Tampa Bay Rays in baseball, there are 10 such turnarounds in the NFL.  And at the beginning of each season, when the previous season’s successes are still fresh in our minds, and when no one is really sure yet which teams are for real and which ones are pretending, picking NFL games is extremely difficult.  

The first two weeks of this season have been more unpredictable than any two week stretch in the NFL I can remember, and for the most part, it seems that there are no dominant teams.  The two teams that have arguably looked the best so far, Green Bay and Pittsburgh, are doing it in completely different ways.  Green Bay is dominating on the offensive side of the ball, and regardless of who Pittsburgh puts in at quarterback, their defense is making enough plays to win.  

I understand that there are 5 other 2-0 teams out there, but raise your hand if you really believe that Chicago, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, or Miami will really be around at the end of the season.  I didn’t think so.  Normally, Houston would have been right in there with the other four, but they’re showing some brass melons so far,  so I neglected to mention them.  But just think about the parity and unpredictability that we’ve seen the first two weeks of the season.  

New England, for example, killed Cincinnati in week one – no real shock there.  But who saw them losing by 14 to a Jets team that couldn’t get out of their own way just six days earlier?  Who saw Mark Sanchez outplaying Tom Brady just six days after one of the poorest showings for a quarterback in Jets history?  Me neither.  

Who could have predicted that Kansas City would beat San Diego in week one?  How about Miami beating the Fighting Favre’s yesterday?  Although with 2006 Brett Favre playing in Minnesota now, they’ll be lucky to be a .500 team.  Who would have thought that a Bears team that should have gotten beat by the Lions would officially seal poor Wade Phillips’ fate in Dallas?  

I understand that there are upsets every year, generally every week.  But the statistics back up my “lack of dominant teams” theory.  There are seven 2-0 teams left this year, not including New Orleans who probably will be after tonight.  In 2009, there were nine after week two.  In 2008, 11 after week two.  In 2007, ten.  In those seasons, five, six, and six of those remaining 2-0 teams, respectively, made the playoffs.  

So not only are there fewer undefeated teams after week two this season, but teams that most would not have thought had a chance to be at this point.  And based on history, over half of those teams will make the playoffs (Green Bay and Pittsburgh are no surprises, but the other five haven’t exactly been setting the world on fire lately).  

It gets deeper.  Of the 6 teams that made the playoffs in the AFC last year, their combined record this year is 6-6.  That’s right – all of them sit at 1-1, a far cry from their combined 67% win percentage from last year.  In the NFC, the combined record of the 6 playoff teams is 5-6, and will be better or worse depending on New Orleans’ performance tonight.  Of those teams, two of the top four from last season (Dallas and Minnesota) now sit at a precarious 0-2.  The point is, the teams that were the most successful last season have gotten off to very average starts, further providing evidence that the lay of the land may be changing in the NFL.  

In Indianapolis, we have all been spoiled by the Colts success.  There is no other way to put it.  After the week one loss to Houston, many Colts fans wanted to push the panic button.  After last night, all seems well in Colts-land again.  But with the cluster of good teams at the top throughout the league, this may be a season in which 11-5 is good enough to win the division, and 9-7 is good enough to clinch a wild-card berth.  The same goes for every other division.  There won’t be any 2008 Patriots getting left out of the playoffs at 11-5 this season.

All in all, I think the NFL is set up for one of the most exciting, compelling seasons in its history.  There are too many good teams capable of winning the whole thing for the season to go any other way.  With the number of undefeated teams now sitting at eight, and likely to dwindle in the coming weeks, the ’72 Dolphins might as well go ahead and pop the champagne – because with the parity in the league this year, no team will even make them sweat.

LeBron Haters Found Savior At World Championships by matthudson14
September 14, 2010, 11:50 am
Filed under: Matt Hudson | Tags: , , ,

By Matt Hudson

Completely lost in the shuffle of the opening weekend of the NFL season was the fact that a patchwork USA Basketball team, comprised of crafty veterans and dynamic 21-year olds, won the World Championships by routing Turkey in the final, 81-64.  Throughout the entire summer, the only NBA story has been the coveted 2010 free agent class, and ultimately, LeBron “taking his talents to South Beach” to align himself with a modern-day super team.  

Quite frankly, anything else has been relegated to back-page news – including the impressive run by this collection of supposedly “second-tier” NBA talent.  And although the team may have been made up of the “very good” rather than “elite” by NBA standards, they played as a team, rather than a bunch of individuals.  No, LeBron, Wade, Kobe, Melo, and Howard didn’t play.  But that’s what made this team so much fun to follow.  

They did it without the egos.  They did it without the self-promotion.  They were the 2004 Detroit Pistons rather than the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers (and I think we all remember how that one turned out).  Maybe this sets the standard for USA basketball.  

Of course, Coach K and the USA basketball organization want the best of the best on their team.   But is it possible that the combination of many very good players playing as one is more effective than the five best players in the league vying for who takes the game-winning shot?  Considering this is the first World Championship win for the USA in 14 years, the argument could certainly be made.  

Truthfully, I’m amazed this team didn’t get more publicity around Indy than what it did, especially with Danny Granger playing a role on the team and Indianapolis native Eric Gordon having his own personal coming-out party.  Durant aside, Gordon was arguably the best player on the team.  Gordon scored 16 points in the opener against Croatia, 21 against Tunisia, and 17 against Angola, going 13-19 on three-pointers in those games.  

Granger was less impressive, with his high output being a 10-point game against Iran, but at least Pacers fans can be happy knowing that they were represented.  

Even though this team was labeled as a team with second-tier talent, I can tell you this much – there is nothing second-tier about Kevin Durant, who was phenomenal throughout the World Championships, and may very well have replaced Kobe Bryant as 1B in the “best player in the world” discussion.  Quite simply, Durant was dominant.  He dropped 33 in the quarterfinals, 38 in the semifinals, and led all scorers with 28 (including 7 three-pointers) in the finals.  

The only reason this kid (yes, he’s still a kid – he’s 21) didn’t win MVP last season is because he plays in Oklahoma City and very few people even realize they have a team, and because LeBron continues to put up numbers that are astronomical.  But I can tell you this much – his 30.1 points per game will no longer be ignored, as he continues to cement himself as the best scorer in the league.  

No, he may not have the overall polish that LeBron does.  He may not snag rebounds like LeBron and pull out Magic Johnson-like assists.  But like I said – he’s 21, and arguably not even near the peak of his career.  It’s pretty scary when you think about it.  And the best part about Durant is this – he’s the anti-LeBron.  He’s not into self-promotion and ESPN specials that are disguised as money-makers for the Boys and Girls Club.  

With Durant’s contract coming to an end after next season, he did what anyone more concerned about winning, and less concerned about extending his “brand” would do.  He did something that someone loyal to his city would do.  He did something that someone who wants to beat the best rather than team up with them would do – he resigned with a smaller-market team loaded with young talent, with the hopes of challenging the Kobes, LeBrons, and Wades for an NBA title.  

Last month, I wrote about Dustin Johnson following the PGA Championship, and how the class and grace that he showed following the two-stroke penalty that negated his chances of participating in a playoff, made him someone that golf fans could root for – the “Anti-Tiger”, essentially.  And ever since James’ well-publicized “decision”, NBA fans have been searching for the Anti-LeBron.  In case you didn’t know before the World Championships, look no further – we’ve found him.

If NCAA doesn’t step in now, REggie Bush is just the beginning by matthudson14

By Matt Hudson

What a great opening weekend to the college football season.  For weeks, even months, many had been anticipating a great matchup between Boise State and Virginia Tech, the highlight of the opening slate of college football games.  And the game itself did not disappoint, as Boise State clearly proved that their #3 preseason ranking was well-deserved.  And there were two other games this weekend that may have even been better, as Ole Miss was shocked by Jacksonville State in double-overtime, and East Carolina pulled out a miracle Hail Mary as time expired.  

But as thrilling as the opening weekend of college football was, I won’t remember it for the plays made by those on the field – I’ll remember it for the plays that could have been made by the players who weren’t allowed to be on it.  As I sat in astonishment, watching the highlights of the LSU-North Carolina game (I had been watching it live, but once LSU took a 30-10 lead into the 4th quarter and depleted UNC had no momentum, on to video games it was…), I couldn’t help but wonder how it would have been different if the 13 players suspended for UNC would have played.  

I couldn’t help but wonder if Marvin Austin, a star defensive tackle and likely future first-round draft pick, suspended due to an NCAA investigation into his relationship with an agent, would have been able to make enough plays to make a difference.  Maybe not Austin alone, but with the other five starters on defense, and their top two running backs, my best guess is that UNC would have killed them.  

But Austin is the focus here.  Most of the other players were suspended due to improper benefits received from a former tutor.  Austin was suspended for a “violation of team rules”.  Most people can see through that and conclude that the NCAA investigation into his relationship with an agent is the true reason why.

And Austin wasn’t the only high-profile college star to be suspended for the first week due to inappropriate contact with agents.  

Georgia star receiver A.J. Green and Alabama defensive tackle Marcel Dareus are themselves the subjects of NCAA investigations, both supposedly having attended parties in Miami with agents.  Georgia and Alabama both won handily, but that does not by any means disguise the real problem here.

The real problem is that too many agents are allowed access to college players who are deemed to be stars at the next level, and are thoroughly taking advantage of a no-lose situation.  The problem for the players, however, is that they have a lot to lose – like their eligibility.  

The other problem is that most of these kids have no idea what is legal and what isn’t.  Most division-one football programs likely go through the same song and dance every year, telling the players to not accept money or any other benefits from boosters, agents, etc.  But is it realistic to ask a 20-year old kid not to accept a little money under the table?  After all the work they put in, is it realistic to ask a kid to eat at McDonald’s when he could be eating at St. Elmo’s?

I don’t think it’s realistic at all.  Many of these kids are coming from impoverished home lives and want to get a head start on the fame and fortune they would likely get at the next level – and who can blame them?  How many of us could say that we would turn down $100,000 if we were promised that no one would find out?  How many of us could say that we would turn down a free house for our parents if we were promised that the NCAA would be none the wiser?  Reggie Bush clearly didn’t, and he was set to make millions at the next level.  

It simply isn’t practical to expect these kids to turn down some of the perks offered by agents.  And although clearly on a different level, I’ve dealt with agents before too.  Towards the end of my senior year at Wabash, I was contacted by one professional football team and several agents.  Truthfully, I had no idea what the hell was legal for me to do and what wasn’t.  I hadn’t been around it before, so I was left hoping that I didn’t do anything wrong.

Even when the season was over and my college eligibility was shot, I still was leery of the whole situation.  But I was never offered vacations to Miami, cash, or a house.  Quite frankly, I would have known anything of that sort to be a violation, but who can really blame these kids for accepting those kinds of offers?  

The fact is, the problem is not with the players accepting gifts from agents.  The problem is with the agents having access to the players in the first place.  The NCAA and NFL need to collectively set standards involving the access that agents have to the players.  And when those standards are exceeded, the punishment needs to be swift and harsh.  

Urban Meyer and Nick Saban, both of whom have been burned by suspensions caused by improper contact with agents in the past (Meyer may have to forfeit the Sugar Bowl victory from this past year if the investigation into Maurkice Pouncey’s alleged $100,000 gift from an agent turns out to be true), have gone as far as to close practices to everyone not with the football team, attempting to shield their players from contact with agents.  

Now, whether Saban and Meyer are truly attempting to shield their players from agents, or just doing their best to control everything around them, I cannot say.  But it is a step in the right direction.  I don’t really know what the answer is.  But the NCAA does need to step in and limit the access of the players, if at all possible.  Maybe the NFL needs to suspend agents who are found guilty of offering improper benefits to college players.  But something has to be done.

Sadly, if nothing is done to bring an end to this predicament, Boise State’s run at the National Title will continue to be secondary news in my book.

Last Hope For American Tennis Continues to Disappoint by matthudson14
September 3, 2010, 11:22 am
Filed under: Matt Hudson | Tags: , ,

By Matt Hudson

One of the most famous (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) press conference soundbites in history came from Dennis Green after losing to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.  By now, everyone has undoubtedly heard his “They were who we thought they were!” tirade multiple times.  Every time I see Andy Roddick lose to a relative unknown, that’s exactly what I think – he is who we thought he was.  

Roddick is seriously the Sergio Garcia of tennis.  Early in his career, as a very young player crashing the party of a sport then owned by the likes of Agassi and Sampras, he gave Americans hope that the torch of American tennis could be passed from those two to him.  And sadly, it may have been.  But that isn’t a good thing for American tennis.  Because Roddick hasn’t been half the player that most thought he would be.  

Like Garcia, he arrived at a very young age, looking to challenge the very best in the sport.  By the age of 21, he had already put together several highlight reel performances that left tennis pundits begging for more.  His win at the 2003 U.S. Open and subsequent #1 world ranking left many believing that great things were to come for the then 21-year old.  But it hasn’t been meant to be.

Even as the years passed and the grand slam titles never came, he still had his youth.  But having just turned 28 this past week, the door seems to be closing ever more slightly on his chances to make a significant impact on tennis.  After the 2009 Wimbledon final in which he lost a heartbreaker to Roger Federer (whom he has lost three Wimbledon finals to), there was the hope that he had regained the form that led him to the #1 world ranking.  But subsequent disappointments have only turned that great performance into an indication of what could have been.  

Roddick’s 4-set loss to 44th-ranked Janko Tipsarevic on Wednesday was just the most recent in a long line of Grand Slam disappointments.  Sadly, these are the type of disappointments that tennis fans have gotten used to.  

I honestly feel kind of bad for the guy.  Not for Andy Roddick the person – I’m not going to feel bad for anyone who is married to a supermodel who recently graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.  But I do feel bad for Andy Roddick the player.  It’s a sad story when someone with great expectations thrust upon them at a very young age never seems to meet them.  Garcia is certainly that way, having once been Tiger’s “future nemesis” after their PGA Championship duel 11 years ago, but never having met the hype by going 0-fer in majors.  

I’ve felt bad for Michelle Wie over the course of the last few years too.  Here’s someone who was thrust into the spotlight before she could drive.  Having won her second career LPGA tournament last week, things seem to be looking up for the 20-year old.  But here is the difference between Wie and Roddick – she’s 20, and looking up at the prime of her career.  He, quite frankly, may have passed it.  

As American sports fans, if there are a few disappointing things that we must resign ourselves to, it’s these – American soccer will put on a contender front, but never be in the top tier of teams vying for a World Cup title, Brett Favre will always throw an interception at the costliest of times, and Andy Roddick will always flame out in Grand Slams, even when his recent play has told you otherwise.  

I will continue to root for Andy Roddick – because he is still the best American in tennis, because he seems to be a stand-up guy, and most of all, because he looks just like Stifler from the American Pie movies.  But I’m going to lower my expectations a little bit, and be pleasantly surprised when another Wimbledon 2009 happens.  But when the inevitable happens, I’ll just shake my head and utter those words – “He is who we thought he was.”

Roger Clemens Scandal Is A Black Eye For All Involved by matthudson14
August 30, 2010, 8:32 pm
Filed under: Matt Hudson | Tags: , , ,

By Matt Hudson

Throughout the course of the mass media age, when every single slip-up by those in the public eye is caught by TMZ, ESPN, or a camera phone, there seems to be one common theme – time heals all wounds.  Given enough time without a significant relapse into the behaviors that placed them in public contempt, the figures that we see and read about every day generally return to the heights of popularity that they once knew.  

Michael Vick is back on the field, not doing the electric things he once did, but at least largely, forgiven for the dogfighting scandal that plagued the prime of his career.  Tiger Woods is clearly not the same player that he once was, but even though every salacious detail of his personal life is now public knowledge, he remains as popular and as big of a draw for the sport of golf as ever.  Kobe Bryant will never be thought of as the guy who cheated on his wife, but rather as the guy who won five titles.  

We are a very forgiving society, and those who admit when they’ve done wrong are, with time, generally forgiven.  Which is why it’s particularly interesting that Roger Clemens has continued to adamantly deny ever taking performance-enhancing drugs of any kind, even when his legacy, future, and even freedom may depend on the truth.  

Today, Clemens entered a “not guilty” plea on charges of lying to Congress in 2008. Clemens faces six charges – three of making false statements, two of perjury and one of obstruction of Congress, and if found guilty, would likely face 15 to 21 months in prison.  

As a sports fan, even though the one thing I cannot stand the most is being lied to, especially over and over again, I feel bad for Roger Clemens.  Even if he was the biggest cheater in baseball history, I feel bad for him.  Let’s assume he did take performance-enhancing drugs, which based on the evidence, is not a stretch (honestly, how many pitchers get better with age?).  He is no more guilty than Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa, to name a few.  Yet here he stands, at risk of going to prison if he is found guilty of lying to Congress on that infamous day on Capitol Hill in 2008.  

Even if he is guilty, does he really deserve to go to prison?  For doing something that so many people in the 1990’s and early 2000’s did?  For lying about it, just as so many others have done?  Rafael Palmeiro isn’t going to prison and there is no doubt about his “innocence”.  Now, I understand that Clemens’ claims were made to Congress, and that perjury is a big no-no.  But even if he did lie, it’s not like he was lying about something that put someone else at risk.  He wasn’t lying to protect someone else.  His lies weren’t going to result in someone else being hurt or even killed.  He simply did as all those others have done – lied to protect himself.  

But here’s the part of the Clemens scandal that bothers me the most – that he was ever there in the first place.  That Mark McGwire was testifying before Congress.  That Sammy Sosa was using an interpreter to speak in front of Congress.  That Rafael Palmeiro was wagging his finger in the face of our country’s foremost leaders professing his God-given skill and scoffing at the notion that he would ever use PED’s.  What were they doing there?

I mean, seriously?  Why did the leaders of our country feel that they needed to get involved in a baseball-related issue?  Don’t we have more important things to worry about in our country than who the biggest cheaters in baseball are?  David Stern can clean up after Tim Donaghy put the integrity of the entire NBA in jeopardy.  Roger Goodell can handle the issue of dozens of concussions destroying the lives of former NFL players.  But Bud Selig needs Congress to have his back to handle the Steroid Era?  I’m sorry, but the sanitizing of a dirty game is not so important that the government needs to step in to clean it up.  

Our country’s prisons should be reserved for those guilty of heinous crimes – murder, rape, assault.  Not for Roger Clemens.  It’s ironic that it’s the hypocrisy of baseball fans that got us here in the first place.  Roger Clemens can be vilified for taking performance-enhancing drugs, but for all we know, his PED use was only in response to the upswing in homeruns that brought fans back to the ballparks after the 1994 strike turned so many away.  

Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were considered heroes to millions when they both went after Roger Maris’ home run record in the summer of 1998.  People couldn’t wait to tune in to ESPN to see if either one of them had gone yard again.  Hell, Sports Illustrated named them the “Sportsmen of the Year”.  Given what we know now, that’s like naming Tiger “husband of the year”.  The entire country turned a blind eye to their huge muscles, unreal power, and ultimately, to the fact that these men were probably using steroids.

Clemens probably saw the public reaction to the home run race, was looking for an edge, and did what most of us would have done – tried to level the playing field.  Clearly that’s what Barry Bonds did.  

So in a way, the public response to Sosa and McGwire in the summer of 1998 is partially responsible for this saga.  And though Clemens is no more guilty than McGwire, Sosa, or A-Rod, there is one major difference – Clemens is the only one who may have to watch the next great home run race from a prison cell.

Pointless Preseason Needs A Makeover by matthudson14
August 25, 2010, 5:01 pm
Filed under: Indianapolis Colts, Matt Hudson | Tags: ,

By Matt Hudson

Based on the reactions of those in NFL circles when the subject of an 18-game season is broached, the idea seems to be gaining more and more steam.  Excluding the players, who quite simply, don’t feel that they need more wear and tear on their bodies than a 16-game season already provides (and who can really blame them?), most people believe that a shortened preseason and an 18-game schedule is a great idea.  Consider me one of those people. 

I can only stand to see the Colts lose so many preseason games before I start to get depressed.  As a fan of a lesser team that hasn’t had much success in recent years, a la Detroit, Tampa Bay, or St. Louis, the preseason can be quite a novelty.  Seeing your favorite perennial loser beat a team handily that they would never touch if the game really counted can certainly be uplifting to members of that fan base.  Hell, even hearing Al Davis compare the 2010 Raiders to the last of his teams that won a Super Bowl might even inspire a little bit of confidence.  

But when the chips are down on the table, and Manning, Brady, and Brees play more than two series a game (not counting late-December games when the Colts have decided that health is more important than history), the preseason means absolutely nothing.  Let’s be honest here – if, theoretically, the Colts played Buffalo in the playoffs this year, there wouldn’t be one person on the field who would think that Buffalo’s 34-21 win last week meant anything.  

The NFL needs to do the right thing here – shorten the preseason by a game or two, and add another two games during the regular season.  Or, shorten the preseason, and leave the season the way it is.  According to the first theory, there would be more money to be made.  Each team would have another home game, another game’s worth of revenue, players would get paid more, owners would make more money, and most would consider two more weeks worth of aches and pains for the players to be worth it.  Everybody wins.  

The second theory would make preseason games more important.  By only having two preseason games, fans wouldn’t be paying full price for tickets to games in which they would see their favorite players on the field for six plays.  Teams might actually try to get their best players in the game more often to get adequately tuned up for the regular season.  In short, I wouldn’t be depressed that the Colts went through another 4-game preseason defeated.  I could handle a 2-game winless preseason much better.  

The point is, actual football is very rarely the focus of training camp or the preseason anyway.  Think about it – what have been the big stories of the preseason so far?  In no particular order,  1) Darrelle Revis holding out from the Jets.  2) Albert Haynesworth showing up out of shape, standoffish to everyone, and completely at odds with Mike Shanahan.  3) Who will provide the most fantasy points this season.  4) The Rex Ryan Express hitting HBO with the force of a thousand F-Bombs, and  Tony Dungy calling him out on it.  5) Oh, and that whole Brett Favre, “will he or won’t he” thing.  

So seriously, nothing that really has to do with anything on the field.  The fact is, the NFL could go without preseason games, and every single one of those storylines is still in play.  

Given that I’m not an avid gambler, I’m not even sure that one can bet on preseason games.  I should probably research this, but I’ll just assume that you can.  If there were two safe bets going into training camp, they were,  1) Brett Favre would have the Vikings by their proverbial stones (probably not the right word, since stones seem to signify toughness) and would jerk them around before finally deciding to come back, and 2) The Colts would have another “unsuccessful” preseason.  That being said, put $20 on the Packers for me tomorrow night.  

I’ll be happy to admit that I’m wrong if Curtis Painter and Tom Brandstater can out-duel whoever the hell the number two and three quarterbacks for Green Bay are, and pull out a victory.  I’ll even write an entry apologizing to the Colts for not having enough faith in their preseason football prowess.  But given that the Colts are batting .200 in their last 20 preseason games, I feel quite confident that I’ll be writing about things that matter, instead.