Lost in the mania of the schedule release this year was the preseason slate. Usually it comes out a week or two before the entire slate and it always gets me pumped. This year, it got buried by the headlines of the regular season fixtures.
I know what you're thinking - "He's not going to get hyped on preseason football, is he?!"
Yes he is.
There's something about the early version of NFL Football being played in August, while folks are still vacationing and fall is a distant promise. It's the appetizer for the real thing. It often gets over-evaluated and picked apart as if the game plans have meaning. But it's been an essential part of ramping up toward September.
The real fun is seeing the young players trying to make an impression and vets aiming to prove they can still contribute. Sure the can't-miss type guys get some reps for timing purposes but the joint practices usually take care of that. Preseason could almost be called developmental season because that's when we see what the future might bring.
This year we don't know what it's going to look like. I watched Bundesliga this past weekend (Bundesliga is the German soccer league. No, I've never watched it before).
They were playing without fans in the stands. Look, that's far from an ideal viewing experience but if it comes to that we'll deal with it.
The trip to Minneapolis August 14 will bring a rare Friday night game. The Texans haven't played on a Friday since the early years. I'm wondering if they'll pipe SKOL chants into the Vikings' stadium if there are no fans.
The Texans play the Vikings in Week 4 but we've seen a double dip happen as recently as 2017 when the Patriots visited the Greenbrier and played a preseason bash at NRG before the Texans went to Foxborough in week 3.
It'll be fun to see Seattle here in Week 2. Here's hoping for joint practices. I was a little surprised Kyle Shanahan agreed to practice in the Houston heat last year but he obviously knew what he was getting into and it hardly slowed the 49ers down. So maybe Pete Carroll will want to do it.
It's always fun to go to New Orleans, have oysters at Drago's and take in the action at the Superdome. Drew Brees and Jameis Winston could be a good test for a defense needed a strong tune up prior to the opener at Kansas City.
And game four with the Cowboys at home is always notable. I don't care if the Cowboys start Clint Stoerner, it's always intriguing to see that uniform in the building.