Football is in the air again. In just under a month, the weekend ritual will be well underway, with high school, college and the NFL all kicking off within a week of each other.
With that, the first round of preseason games began this past weekend. America got its first chance to see Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Peyton Manning in action for the first time with their new teams.
None of those three, for example, did particularly bad. Griffin threw for 70 yards and Luck had a touchdown pass on his first completion.
But see, here's the thing. Preseason stats mean nothing.
Preseason football stats are like your GPA in high school. Once you get into college, nobody cares what your GPA was. It's the same thing in football. Once you get into the regular season, it doesn't matter what you did in the preseason. It's a "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" mindset.
Preseason stats don't matter because after the first series, you're no longer playing against NFL regulars (for the most part). You'll have some, sure, but for the most part, by the second quarter, the majority of players on the field are second- and third-stringers, fighting for a roster spot or a starting gig.
And that leads to my other point — preseason stats do not necessarily translate into a good (or bad) season for a team or an individual. Sure, this seems like a no-brainer, but you wouldn't believe how many people I hear say, "Oh, we had a great preseason, so it's going to be a great year for us," or, "So-and-so player had an awful preseason, I don't see how he's going to do anything this year."
It's not like that. The preseason is more than just playing games. It's about building chemistry, learning the playbook or figuring out what works and what doesn't. If anything, there's an inverse correlation between preseason and regular season performances. For example, the Rams went 4-0 in the preseason last year. They went 2-14 in the regular season. Likewise, Cincinnati went 1-3 in the preseason. They ended up making the playoffs.
And yes, there are some stat geeks (myself included) who enjoy looking at preseason stats. But again, even the stat geeks realize to take those stats with a grain of salt. It's the same in baseball. To an extent, hockey, too.
What I'm saying is, it's OK to get excited. But remember, it's only one game into the preseason. There's many things that can (and will) happen just within the next month. So be prepared.
Alix Kunkle is the News Editor of the Leesville Daily Leader in Leesville, La. You may contact him at email@example.com.