The Hall of Fame game is the highlight of a weekend meant to honor some of the game's greatest players as they are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. This year's crop included some true legends: cornerback Jack Butler, center Dermontti Dawson, defensive end/linebacker Chris Doleman, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, running back Curtis Martin, and tackle Willie Roaf.
The game itself is almost a formality with the real purpose being the ceremony Saturday that officially mad these men a part of pro football lore. However, as vanilla as the game is there are things that we can take away from it:
1. Replacement anything is never a good idea, and the replacement refs used Sunday were proof of that. Botching the coin flip could be chalked up to nerves, but the missed holding call in the end zone in the first quarter and the overall lack of calls throughout the game is proof that these guys are in over their heads. If anything, the Hall of Fame game is usually a penalty laden mess; this one was not, and I doubt it was because the players were 'good.'
2. Drew Brees and the Saints are going to be fine. All the controversy did not appear to bother the Saints in the least on the field. Brees appeared to be taking up right where he left off last year. The only problem the team might have is deciding which running backs to keep because they all looked good.
3. Kevin Kolb might not finish the season in Arizona. On his fourth drop back he got knocked out of the game with what the team is now saying is a bruised chest muscle. It looks like John Skelton can sneak through and lock up the starter's job. Since the Cardinals gave up a lot to get Kolb it would be surprising for them not to try and unload him for a mid/late round draft pick rather than just let him go. The only way he stays in Arizona throughout the season is if the team has zero confidence in Richard Bartel or Ryan Lindley.
4. You would think that the position with the most inductees would be quarterback or running back, but it is actually the big men in the trenches, the offensive linemen. Just counting the modern era inductees the 0-line has 37; defensive linemen are second with 31. If you add the modern era and pre-modern categories together there are 47 QB/ hybrid QB/RBs in the Hall, but the lineman still rule with 53.
5. Mike Mayock. What can I say about this guy? While I can appreciate that it has to be tough to fill air time in the first preseason game to go on at length singing Play that Funky Music White Boy? Let me paraphrase what some of your colleague over at ESPN might say--come on man!