This was originally published in The Athletic.
NFL preseason games are banal, forgettable affairs that on the entertainment scale usually rank somewhere between looking at your mother-in-law’s vacation photos and listening to the guy in the next cubicle talks about his fantasy football team. They lack the things that draw so many of us to real NFL games, namely the eager and willing participation of the people playing and coaching in them.
Yet we still watch them, because, well, bland, boring football is better than no football. We also go into them hoping we see things that make us feel better about our team’s prospects when the games that matter begin.
To that end, last night’s Bengals/Cowboys exhibition game in Dallas was even more useless than your typical August NFL tilt. I’ve reluctantly sat through timeshare seminars that were more entertaining, and certainly more interesting, than the Bengals’ second 2018 preseason affair. Yes, these games are sports’ lowest-hanging fruit, perhaps the easiest thing besides Marvin Lewis’ playoff record to wail away at, but even by low preseason standards, the game was almost unbearable to watch.
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