There are few things that the hardcore NFL fan revels in more than talking about just how much they can’t stand preseason. While this is for good reason as the games are only an exhibition that largely exclude the players we’ll be watching on Fall Sundays in a few short weeks, there is still plenty that we can glean from tuning in.
Whether it’s tracking a storyline, seeing camp battles you’ve been reading about play out on an actual stage, or watching a player on the bubble step up in a big way and give the coaching staff something to think about, there’s plenty of authentic drama to take away from this time of year despite what many say. While it may not have the import of a competitive NFL game, a case can be made that the preseason at the very least sets the stage for them.
Cal Ripken Jr. Wayne Gretzky. Byron Nelson. John Harbaugh. All four of these names are among those who hold claim to some of the greatest streaks in sports history. While the first three (and many others) hold very noteworthy streaks in their own right, Harbaugh’s ability to guide Baltimore to 20 straight preseason victories (to surpass the great Vince Lombardi for the all-time record last August) is potentially in a class of it’s own.
Consider the facts. By nature, the preseason is a transient period, with changing rosters not only year-to-year, but game to game, with motivations differing for everyone. The fact that Harbaugh has turned the Ravens into the NFL’s preeminent winning machine in this category may be even more impressive than it appears in this regard.