Just finished watching the first episode of this season's Hard Knocks: Training Camp on HBO. Great show and if you've never seen it, I highly recommend it. This year they're following the NY Jets at their training camp at SUNY Cortland.
The show is a favorite of mine because it shows the behind-the-scenes, human side of football. The stuff we rarely ever get to see - good and bad. As fans, we're often so focused on wanting our team to succeed that we forget about the fact that all of the players, coaches etc. involved are just normal people like you and me.
With each passing year of fanhood I come to appreciate that human side of the NFL more and more. In my brief stint here as a full-time blogger I've had a very limited opportunity to experience that aspect personally but even through my continued study of the sport I have come to view the NFL more as a business or a livelihood and less as just a game purely for entertainment purposes. Maybe it's just because I'm pushing thirty.
Whatever the reason, my increased fan maturity kicked into high gear yesterday. Because I will always be a selfish fan at heart, when I first heard the news of Lynell Hamilton's ACL injury yesterday my reaction was anger followed by high-level concern over who would now step up and replace him. But then I paused, took a step back and thought about what an awful twist of fate this had been for Hamilton. Thought about what must be going through his head. The team and the fans continue to move forward because they have to but for Lynell, everything has stopped and it may never start again.
Here is a guy who is twenty-five years old, who has been waiting on the bench for two years after going undrafted, who put together a nice performance when called upon in the final regular season game of last season and finally had the green light for the No. 3 running back spot on the defending world champions. The stage was set for Hamilton to make a name for himself. To take a major step in his career and undoubtedly toward his life's dream. And with one unlucky cut in practice, it's over. He was standing in the doorway, only to have it slammed in his face.
But, of course, when one door closes another one opens. P.J. Hill and Chris Ivory, who were initially battling for that final spot on the roster, are now given a chance to accelerate their careers and possibly become the teams third running back. Now it's their chance to make their dreams come true. And for us, as fans, it means things just got a little more interesting tonight. Now I'll be intently observing with fingers crossed to see if either of these guys are going to help allow the Saints keep a well balanced offense. Such is the circle of life in the NFL.
Just food for thought.
Which means it's now time to turn it back to you guys. We're pickin' ponies for the game tonight. Which running back is going to standout in tonights pre-season game against the Patriots? I'm going with P.J Hill. .