Two Different Approaches to Tonight’s Game

Talking to the rookies on the bus yesterday, Joe Theismann called tonight’s game “The Super Bowl, for some of you. Treat every play like this might be your last.” (Yes, he directly referred to the way his career ended when talking about that.) He encouraged the young guys to make the most out of any opportunity they were given to be on the field.

Similarly, Sam Huff told the story of how he was moved against his will from offensive line to middle linebacker … where he redefined the position, became a multimedia star, and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Listening to these guys talk to the rookies was genuinely inspiring. By the time the bus arrived at the Hall, the upcoming game had taken on the mythic importance of Super Bowl III. Add in a little music from Explosions in the Sky as the bus of players rolled through the flat Ohio landscape and it would’ve been the most epic Friday Night Lights episode ever.

Then there’s the other side of things.

“These are tough games to get ready for, playing one drive,” Chris Cooley said to the media today. “They try to trick you, too, tell you to get ready to play a half, and then there’s these silent rumors floating around of, ‘Your limit is ten plays’…. I think most of the guys feel like if we move the ball and score, we can take the helmets off and drink Gatorade on the benches.”

Clinton Portis was even more blunt. Asked by a reporter if he’s going to play tonight, Portis gave an amused kind of laugh-snort. “You almost made me nervous,” he said. “You got an inside scoop or something? Let’s hope not.”

Portis and Cooley and the other big name guys will probably get more facetime and discussion on TV tonight, but it’s useful to remember the rookies from the bus as well. Something to remember and focus on during what may be a slow second half — or last three quarters — of tonight’s game.

5 Responses

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  3. Yeah, it’s almost a shame, really, to have the first pre-season game as such a major nationally televised event. I mean, being in Atlanta, I’m happy to see the skins on tv anytime I can, and I’ll enjoy it as a true fan.

    But for the average joe/jane, it may be really boring as I’ve read (maybe earlier here) that the coaches plan very much to make this a traditional pre-season game, working mostly the new players or those otherwise on the line. I mean, it makes sense.

    To me, that’s what preseason is for. Unfortunately, many put too much stock in it and want it to be a real game. That’s putting the cart before the horse. We gotta walk before we can run. (Surely there must be one more cliche that fits!)

    Anyway, this is a time for analysis and investigation by the team, and for new or borderline players to work to make the team, impressing the coaches/owner, even just showing that they’re listening to what they’ve been told, whether they perform well or not in the fan’s eyes. Sometimes there are things we can’t even appreciate that are being watched.

    It’s just not so much a time to focus on winning or even putting on a good show for the fans. Sadly, most fans don’t realize that. Let’s hope the TV analysts help set the right expectations.

  4. […] The first one minute and seventeen seconds of the Jim Zorn era certainly went as well as anyone could’ve wanted. Chris Cooley and the starting offense are now doing exactly what he hoped for. […]

  5. Sweet victory, and a far better performance from both teams than anyone could have expected. Glad to be proved wrong that it might be boring to other than true fans! :-)

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