Monday, August 07, 2006

NFL Exhibition Opener: Wake Me When It's Over

In 1967, the Lions were the first NFL team to play an AFL team in the exhibition season, when they traveled to Denver to play the Broncos. Defensive tackle Alex Karras said he'd walk home if the Lions lost.

The Lions lost. And Karras took the team flight; doubtful anyone wanted to remind him of the "walking home" comment.

The Lions and Broncos tangle this Friday in the exhibition opener for both teams. Rumors that Jake Plummer said he'd walk home if the Broncos lost are unfounded.

If you want to make any sort of pseudo-conclusion about these Lions -- not the smartest thing during an NFL exhibition season -- then you'd better make it in the first eight minutes of the first quarter Friday night. That's when both teams' starters, mostly, will be on the field. At regular season prices, no less - but that's another blog post entirely.

The first exhibition game of any NFL season is like watching a party from outside, through a window. The excitement is muted and the action is sterile. It looks like it should be a great time, but often you're happy you're outside, after all.

Perhaps an early indictment is that Charlie Rogers and Mike Williams -- who at one time were sure-fire starters -- will most likely not take the field until well into the second quarter, if at all. Or maybe one of them won't play at all (Rogers?), though that still seems inconceivable, despite their disappointing performances. Regardless, instead of getting their play out of the way and taking the rest of the game off, they'll be sweating and running and fighting off bumps and chucks in the second half. The half of the scrubs, when you're talking NFL preseason.

Besides, aren't the Tigers playing that night? Maybe I'll watch that instead.

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