I always thought that vanilla got a bad rap. It’s a good flavor. A very strong scent. It’s even got a French permutation, which is always nice.
But in preseason football, all we hear about is how the play-calling is vanilla, the schemes are very vanilla, the level of excitement is vanilla. I just don’t think that’s fait to vanilla. If anything, we should come up with something that is far more flavorless and bland than vanilla to describe these exhibition games. I’ve never tried it, but I’m told poi is rather tasteless. Perhaps it’s time to start talking about poi football.
All of this is just a way to get to the point that it’s difficult to know what teams will look like in the regular season based on what they did in the preseason. Look at the Jets, for crying out loud. They make this huge firestorm by bringing in that backup quarterback during the offseason and then don’t even have the common decency to show us how they plan on using him. Poi, indeed.
So it will be difficult to come up with keys between the Giants and Cowboys in the opener based on Xs and Os. No one knows who will be covering whom, where anyone will really be lining up, and what tricks are up anyone’s new NFL-licensed Nike sleeve. Hard as it is, then to come up with the top couple of things to look for in this upcoming game, as many websites and newspapers and other blogs will do in the hours between now and kickoff, imagine what it’s like coming up with the bottom of that list!
But that’s what we do here. Since every list has to have an ending, has to be finite, we preview each game not by addressing the Top Five Things to Watch For but by focusing instead on the Bottom Five. Here, then, are the Bottom Five Things to Watch For in Wednesday night’s game between the Giants and Cowboys:
5. Newspapers that have been cleaning up the language between Jerry Jones, Mathias Kiwanuka, Jason Pierre-Paul and others have become so used to parenthetical references they refer to the game as a contest between the Dall(butts) Cowboys and the New York Gia(butts). I won’t even tell you what happens when DeMarc(butt) Ware tries to p(butt) rush against David B(butt).
4. Jason Pierre-Paul doesn’t just sack Tony Romo, he lifts the quarterback over his shoulder, runs into the locker room, and flings him in the ice tub.
3. The NFL officials are locked out. The NHL players are locked out. The two leagues figure out how best to use their combined resources and decide to employ hockey officials in football games. David Wilson is called for icing twice on long runs and the game ends after three periods.
2. Victor Cruz scores a touchdown and premieres his new celebration dance: The Charleston.
1. Don’t forget to get there early for the special ceremony honoring the men who were on the last Giants team to win a game on a Wednesday: The 1934 Giants! They may have won the “Sneakers Game” and the championship later that season, but to me they’ll always be remembered for that 14-12 midweek win against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Oct. 3, 1934.