The Kansas City Chiefs kick off their 2013 campaign in the Big Easy tonight as they face off against the New Orleans Saints. As excited as we all are for football, preseason football is like a bad appetizer.
Oh, we will watch the game. There is little doubt. We will watch some of the starters play for a series or two, then we will be treated to nearly three hours of action from players whose names we won’t remember by the end of September.
We will watch a field full of players, most of which are battling for their careers, a good number of which won’t make a team. The Chiefs’ roster hopefuls will do battle with the wanna-bees for the Saints and they will run around playing not very good football.
Yet, many of us will watch a meaning less game of sub par football instead of watching a meaningful (for the first time in a decade) August tilt featuring an entertaining, red hot Kansas City Royals team.
We are all eager to catch our first glimpse of our new quarterback, Alex Smith, and everyone wants to see if Tyler Bray or Chase Daniel (or Ricky Stanzi) will emerge as the Chiefs’ all important back-up quarterback. Because of this, we tend to give these exhibition games more attention than they deserve even though very little will be decided tonight.
Why would we submit ourselves to bad football, played with vanilla offenses and vanilla defenses? Why do we order appetizers? Because we are hungry, and the appetizer looks good, and we can get it before the main course. Well, football is the same. We are hungry for some football since it has been more than six months since we’ve seen any football. It looks good because any football is better than no football. Finally, this is what we get before the main course. We get to enjoy the stuffed mushrooms before the shrimp fettuccine alfredo.
All this – it’s okay. We are fans. We are supposed to anxious to see our team play, even if it isn’t the stars and starters. We are ready to see some football, in whatever form. It is always entertaining to watch guys trying their best to impress the coaches. It is always good to get to see the possibilities at back-up quarterback, especially this season, when we haven’t really seen either of the top options play in the NFL as of yet.
As for me, I will probably watch until the starters are pulled, then I will concentrate on the Royals’ game. I will switch over between innings to catch a few glimpses of action. Just like the Chiefs’ staff (well, not quite the Chiefs’ staff) I will be critically eyeballing the talent to see if there are any hidden gems waiting to shine. A player whose heart outperforms his talent level, or someone who hasn’t been given opportunities to shine, or just someone who has slipped through the cracks of the scouting system.
It does happen. Chris Harris, who has blossomed as a cornerback for the Denver Broncos, played his college ball for the Kansas Jayhawks. He went undrafted in 2011, but was invited to the Broncos’ camp and in the preseason, he played himself into a roster spot. Now he has played himself into a possible starter for Denver. In 2011, in his rookie season he started 4 games, and he started 12 last season. Undrafted – earned his way in training camp. It’s possible.
Priest Holmes was undrafted and we all know how that eventually turned out. So was James Harrison of the Steelers, and we know what kind of player he has been. There very well could be that player in tonight’s game. Just don’t count on it.
Enjoy your first taste of Chiefs football. It will surely get better over the next few weeks. Try not read too much into the performances, good or bad, this early. Don’t get too excited for the Chiefs’ 4th string running back running roughshod over the Saints’ 4th team defense. Don’t get too down if the Saints’ hopefuls outplay our hopefuls. Very little else but the uniforms will resemble the players or talent we will see in five weeks.
Enjoy the game, and all the preseason games, for what they are – the appetizer before the main meal. Have fun, Chiefs fans. Regular season is just around the corner!