A smooth chill went down the back of every football fans spine last night as the 2009 preseason kicked off with a bang. The first NFL action in 7 months came with the yearly Hall of Fame game was played in Canton, Ohio as this years inductees were applauded, late round draft picks played with high hopes of making the team, and your favorite players played no more then a couple series.’ Turning on the television last night one might have thought they were watching an old AFL game with referees who looked more like construction workers. Nonetheless the football feeling was back in the atmosphere as fans everywhere went to their garage later that night and pulled out the dusty fantasy football chart for one more year.
This years Hall of Fame game, however, was more about the story lines then it was about the game. It what seems like decades since the Buffalo Bills had a prime time nationally televised game, the T.O. experiment seems to be already working. Even after a loss Owens was happy with his and his teammates appointment instead of blaming the preseason lose on the rest of the Locker room. No, 2 catches for 37 yards is not a sign that a pro-bowl year is to come, but the fact that TO has made it through a couple weeks of camp without biking on the sideline or doing sit-ups in his driveway has to say something.
Last night was also the first time we have seen Vince Young this season. I’m sure that everyone, myself included, was so excited to see the changes the quarterback made this summer after making such strong comments about his induction to the Hall of Fame. Early in the second quarter the self proclaimed future Hall of Famer threw a perfect pass to Leodis Mckelvin, of the Buffalo Bills. Making somewhat amends later, Young did throw a nice touch pass to the back of the end zone for a touchdown. However, Vince, keep the Hall of Fame comments to yourself and keep your headset on as that will be all you do this year as Kerry Collins’ backup.
The final story, and easily the saddest if the night, came with the number decal located on the back of the Titan helmets. This was just another reminder of the tragic death of former Titan quarterback Steve McNair. Even with a such special event like the HOF game and the kickoff to the 2009 season, it was a sure reminder that there are far more important things in life then the game. Even in a preseason game the Titans looked as if the were motivated by a higher spirit. Steve was surely missed last night and the next time we shall think of him in Canton will surely be when he is inducted into the HOF himself.