NFL types are creatures of habit yet the last two seasons have been anything but routine. The 2020 COVID-19 campaign was bizarre, with few or no fans and no preseason games.
Now we get the 17 game schedule. More football is always a good thing. But with only three preseason games we're suddenly left with no action this weekend.
I knew it was coming. But little did I know I'd feel the void I do right now. Yes, the fourth preseason game was played with few or no starters and many of the participants would be cut a day later,. But that was part of the drama.
I don't have the numbers but I'll bet that collectively the fourth preseason game was the final game in more careers than any other. It was the last house on the left. It was where some dreams came crashing down and some players' football lives got an 11th-hour Governor's pardon.
As I write this I would be prepping for the tilt. Maybe I'd be on the charter with the team flying to another NFL town. For me the last preseason game never lacked excitement.
I remember Case Keenum getting the start in Dallas in 2013. We had no idea he'd end up starting eight games that year. I wrote last week about Rex Grossman beating out Dan Orlovsky for the back-up QB job in 2009's summer finale. What I didn't write about was Arian Foster leading the team in rushing in that game. He would then get cut, end up on the practice squad and eventually make franchise history.
I remember 2005 when the Texans starters tried to shake off a sluggish preseason by participating in Game 4. It did not go well as David Carr threw two picks and the team eventually went 2-14.
There were always plenty of interesting storylines in Game 4. Now it's gone. That's ok because we have 17 regular season football feasts. Everyone will be playing their last game during what was once Wild Card weekend.
This is all good for the NFL but they do lose something. There was no national broadcast for the final Thursday schedule but each NFL market would see its local team dominate the TV ratings despite whatever college football games were on.
Now college football will own the night. Speaking of which, we have a game here on Saturday at 6 p.m. with the Coogs and Texas Tech. Get your tickets here. I guess, in that case, it's only a semi-bye week.
The Houston Texans roster in photos.