Peter Diana photo, via Post-Gazette
by Rebecca Rollett
Let’s Have Some Football!
I think we’re all ready for some Steelers football by now. The off-season seemed even longer than usual this year—a barren wasteland of non-football activity. Thank heavens for the Pirates…
And I think I’m definitely in the minority here, but I like pre-season games. It gives a chance to shine to some young men who have aspired to make it to the NFL for perhaps most of their life. They finally have a shot at it, however brief the window may be.
And while a great many of them are going to fade away into the sunset in a few short weeks, perhaps never to be heard from again, they have these opportunities to catch someone’s eye. Even if your current team doesn’t keep you on, maybe someone else will see something they like and pick you up. At least you had a chance.
And in fact preseason favorites do often get a more extended look. Linebacker Howard Johnson, better known as HoJo, made some pretty impressive-looking plays last summer, and was retained on the practice squad. He has another chance to grab a roster spot this season, although given the LB depth on the team at the moment, it maybe isn’t much of one.
But What is the “Hall of Fame” Game?
The fact that I don’t know about the Hall of Fame game demonstrates, I suppose, how short is my football fandom tenure and how little interest I take in other teams : ) But just in case any of you are also unaware of it, it turns out to be the traditional beginning of the preseason. Not surprisingly, it is played in Canton, Ohio on the same weekend as the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
It is generally although not invariably an AFC vs. NFC match-up. It was cancelled in 2011 during the labor dispute. I note that, had the labor agreement been ratified a mere three days earlier, the game would have been played. Knowing that at least the veteran players are probably not terribly keen on exhibition games which could result in injuries, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that the players held out the extra few days just to make sure the game would be cancelled. Read more