RedState Sports Report: NFL Preseason Rolls on and So Does Lionel Messi

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Greetings from the sports desk located somewhere below decks of the Good Pirate Ship RedState. Sammy the Shark and Karl the Kraken are busy taking laps in their new Southern California swimming pool:


So, I’m on my own again. 

The NFL preseason is past the halfway point, which isn’t much of an accomplishment when it’s only three games long. Back in the days of my wild and wacky youth, the NFL preseason was six games long, this being a time when, after an off-season spent doing whatever, the players would roll into camp and play their way into shape for the upcoming season. Now, with cutting-edge 24/7 training techniques and the latest in chemical enhancements … uh, nutritional supplements, players can get injured much faster and far more efficiently than in the good ol’ days. 

The question arises as to whether three games are sufficient to develop an on-field rhythm for offensive or defensive units. Sure, they are studying video footage together and all that. However, that alone cannot replace practicing together in order to play together. Add to this how most NFL coaches loathe playing their projected starters on either side of the ball much, if at all, during the preseason to preclude losing a player for any length of time when the games count. You have the potential for not so much being on the same page as wondering if everyone is reading from the same playbook. 


The NFL’s minor league farm system, otherwise known as college football, sidesteps this problem by simultaneously having all the games count and by having traditional powerhouse schools schedule lesser lights for a game or two come season commencement. For example, unless you believe Middle Tennessee State is on par with Alabama and the University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks will be a pawful for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, said games are little more than slightly unscripted scrimmages for the big boys and a nice paycheck for the patsies … er, valiantly striving underdogs. 

On to what the rest of the world calls football and we’uns label soccer. In news that will come as a shock to no one on the face of the planet, Lionel Messi scored twice on August 19th in the Leagues Cup final for Inter Miami CF, once during the game and once in the shootout, to lead the Herons (and why, given their choice of team colors, aren’t they the Flamingoes?) over FC Nashville. This marks the 44th tournament or league championship Messi has won in his career. Remember that before Messi joined Miami, they were one of the, if not the, worst teams in MLS. Now, they can’t lose. What a difference a genuine legend makes. 

One more soccer note. Although most people turned off their TVs and muttered “good” after the US team lost in the Women’s World Cup, the tournament went on nonetheless. In the championship game on August 20th, Spain defeated England 1-0 on a goal from Olga Carmona. What normally would be a feel-good moment immediately turned into feels of the tragic kind when after the game, Carmona’s family in attendance told her that her father had died back home in Spain.

And without knowing it, I had my Star before the game started. I know that you have given me the strength to achieve something unique. I know that you have been watching me tonight and that you are proud of me. Rest in peace dad

Puts things in perspective.


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