Every day there are three things, here are those three things.
1) Our collective hatred of preseason football is what's holding us together. We are living in what feels like an unprecedented age. Our society has been divided before, but yet it feels that for all that should unite us, we as a people have never been more fractured.
Achieving common ground seems impossible. Commonality and compromise are seemingly relics of a bygone era. And more and more people almost delight in disagreeing simply for the sake of fostering disagreement.
Fortunately, there is one - and maybe only one thing - that we can all agree on. Men. Women. Black. White. I'll bet even the psychopath running North Korea would grudgingly concede this one thing:
NFL preseason football sucks.
That statement is not a new one, of course. Long is the line of people who opine on sports who've whacked away at the low-hanging fruit that is pro football in August. We watch it, or at least tolerate it. We take it for what it is, and discuss what its future may be. But all of us - All. Of. Us. - acknowledge that the NFL's preseason product is so startlingly inferior to the regular season stuff we're all addicted to, that we'd all be better off it were abolished entirely.
In fact, I'd bet even the staunchest, most vocal opponents of the current president would reluctantly nod along if he sent an early morning tweet about how the preseason has got to go.
Only, I don't want it to. Not because I like the games, of course. But because without preseason football to despise and rail against, we'd truly lack any semblance of unity. Very little is holding us together right now. Our spirit of oneness and togetherness is being held together by a very thin thread of poorly-played, drama-deficient, intensity-bankrupt, excitement-lacking, NFL football, and our disdain for it.
If the NFL preseason goes away. So too, do we.
2) "Bengals" v. "Bucs. Actually, I'm kinda intrigued for tonight's tilt. The Bengals are a team very much reliant on youth, so let's see how much youth is served in the August opener.
Let's see if the buzz surrounding Karl Lawson translates into something we can wrap our brains around.
Let's see if Joe Mixon can do the things so many have raved about him being able to do, and let's see - amid a vanilla offensive gameplan - how the Bengals use him.
Let's see if Cedric Ogbuehi can block anybody.
Let's see if William Jackson can engender some confidence in his first NFL action.
You get the point. This major questions about the Bengals this season involve the improvement of the offensive line, the wealth of weaponry and how their top targets are deployed, the depth in the secondary, and how productive the defensive line will be. Each of those units is at least in part dependent upon players who've either never played in the NFL of have never played well in the NFL.
Let's see them play well tonight.
3) Good to hear Joe. I tweeted this the other night.
Joe sat in with Thom and Jeff in the Fox Sports Ohio TV booth on Wednesday night, and hearing Joe's voice - and his astute commentary - was very, very refreshing.
And a little nostalgic.
At his absolute broadcasting apex - in the mid-90s - Joe Morgan was one of the very best analysts on television. Smart. Insightful. Willing to second guess managers and be critical of players without worrying about being proven wrong. In his later years doing Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN, Joe was often outwardly reluctant to embrace analytics, which did make him look short-sighted and engendered a lot of well-deserved criticism.
But that didn't mean his analysis carried no merit.
Listening the other night, you could tell he still pays close attention to the Reds and the sport as a whole. And his easy-going conversational style fit right in with two broadcasters who've been working together for years. I really enjoyed listening to him.
A Seat At The Table airs in its entirety tomorrow night at 7:30 on WLWT-5. Please watch, or set your DVR. Here's a preview...
Radio Show: We are the pregame show for Bengals/Bucs. Tony Pike is with me every hour. Alan Cutler joins us from the broadcast booth for some reason. We have Hot Take James Hottest Takes Of The Week. We have you. 3:05 on ESPN1530.
Recommended Link Of The Day: Walkthru: Bengals and the AJ McCarron win-win-win