Well, well, well. Football is back in our life. Training camp is a week old, but Thursday brings the first actually game action as the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys square off to open the preseason schedule. The 2017 Hall of Fame Game probably won’t be the best football in the world — OK, it definitely won’t be considering Blaine Gabbert is getting the start for Arizona — but it’s a football game for the first time since Super Bowl 51.
It will be easy to tune out the game, and more than likely I’ll flip on for part of it, and then just sort of zone out. If you are looking for a reason to watch the game, here are a few.
1. It’s football
We’re all fiends for football and crappy NFL football is usually better than no NFL football. Considering the ratings the Pro Bowl does, I’m guessing Thursday’s game will have plenty of viewers. We won’t see most if any of the starters, but it’s a step in the right direction.
2. The 49ers play both teams this season
The 49ers will play the Cardinals Week 4 and Week 9 this season. They will play the Cowboys Week 7. None of the Cardinals starters will play in the game, and I imagine the Cowboys will be sitting a lot of their starters, if not all of them. The second string players will be the ones to watch since some of them could surprise and secure a starting job. And with injuries always a possibility, at least one of these guys will be getting a starting job.
3. Waiver wire analysis
The other thing that is interesting about preseason games is considering who might be available on waivers at the end of the preseason. Everyone will cut down 53 players, putting nearly 1,200 players out there for anybody to claim on waivers or sign as a vested free agent. The 49ers have the No. 2 spot in waiver priority, which means they get a shot at anybody the Cleveland Browns pass on. Given the state of the 49ers roster and how active the new regime has been in changing things up, I could see multiple waiver claims at the end of camp. It adds a little something to watch during the preseason when we’re not watching the 49ers.
4. Did I mention, it’s real football?
Just in case you missed it the first time!
How to watch Hall of Fame Game
Who: Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals
Time: Thursday, Aug. 3, 8 p.m. ET
Place: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio
Announcers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Online: NBC Sports