Leftridge: The Pointlessness of NFL Training Camp Reporting

coverreporterAh, Training Camp. Are there any two words in the English language more apt to illicit sexual squeals from NFL beat writers across the land? (Perhaps “free sandwiches,” but my point stands.)

It’s clear that we’re firmly in late July when:

1) The Royals are holding “players only” meetings because they’re starting their inevitable swoon. (But hey, it worked everyone! ROYS ARE FIXED.)

2) Here’s sports director “Handsome” Henry Ballsack in his best summer Polo, standing in the parking lot of a college football facility in Elsewhere, MO. His eyes are bugging out as he sprays the camera lens with a fine spittle while explaining how “BACKUP TIGHT-END D’CARTRIDGE JACKSON HAS LOOKED AMAZING CATCHING WELL-LOFTED BALLS FROM A THIRD-STRING QB… OR MAYBE IT WAS THE EQUIPMENT MANAGER. IT’S TOO EARLY TO TELL, BUT THIS LOOKS LIKE A SUPER BOWL CONTENDER. BACK TO YOU, PLORT.”

It’s not that I’m not EXCITED about football. I truly, totally am. Despite my unyielding love of baseball, I start getting antsy with anticipation once I see Henry Ballsack crisping under the July sun. I can almost feel the autumnal swing in the air and smell giant turkey legs roasting at the Renaissance Fair, and all of the other sensory-related shit that happens in the Fall.

The part that I can’t stand is the media coverage.


The aforementioned TV sports personality who is hungover from his adventure at the previously mentioned Chili’s the night before.

The beat writers tasked with the unimportant responsibility of telling me which undrafted rookies from small colleges in rural, western enclaves of the United States “really seem to be getting some attention from Coach.

Maybe it’s that I’m not as hardcore of a fan as some… but then again, maybe this shit just isn’t that important.

This is training camp– it’s not the regular season, it’s not the preseason, and it’s not even everything leading up to the draft (which, for me, is becoming almost as bad). The only time training camp should even be paid attention to is when:

1) your your team brings in a new, hot-shot free agent.

2) someone of actual value ruptures their anus during a drill and will require season-ending butt surgery.

3) someone of substantial value isn’t going to be there because of contract issues.

OK, well, I guess number three is happening, so…

jamaal-charles-hand2ICYMI, Only Chiefs Player Who Matters Jamaal Charles is reportedly unhappy with his contract and unwilling to report with the rest of the veterans today unless he’s first given a dump truck teeming with money.

The shitty part is, he deserves to get ALL of the money, but the thing is:

– He’s 27, which is perfectly middle-aged when it comes to running backs. He may have a decent couple of seasons left in him, but his decline is unavoidable and rapidly forthcoming.

– Paying him now won’t necessarily hinder the team at the moment, but it could have a very big impact in terms of cap space NEXT year.


It’s also worth noting that:

– If he doesn’t report today, he’ll be forfeiting $1 mil under his current contract, and

Andy Reid has a history of just-not-giving-a-shit when it comes to holdouts.

So I can see it both ways. I don’t think the Chiefs have a prayer or making the playoffs without Charles, but it’s not even a guarantee that they would WITH him. He’s an old running back with a lot of mileage and robotic knees who deserves money, but giving it to him potentially handicaps the long-term success of the club.

-andy-reidIn the end, I’m betting he gets his money, he shows up, he has a really great season, the Chiefs either barely sneak into the playoffs or come really close, and next season everyone is up in arms about the Chiefs being financially hamstrung.


Wake me up when it’s all settled. In the meantime, stop bothering me about the TRAINING CAMP SPECIALS! at the Wing Blasters in a city I have no intention of visiting.

This has been your 2014 Chiefs Training Camp Update. I’ll see you in the regular season, sports fans!

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16 Responses to Leftridge: The Pointlessness of NFL Training Camp Reporting

  1. Orphan of the Road says:

    Once upon a time going to training camp was fun. Like the day we went to Liberty and hung out with Wilt Chamberlain on the sidelines.

    It is always fun to listen to the “experts” blather on and on. Even better when their thesis blows up in their face.

    • Libertarian says:

      Training camp articles are like a Mary Sanchez article.

      You read it knowing all the while your IQ will be the same, if not down a point when you’re done.

      But, like a moth to a fire…..

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Yeah, I don’t mind the blow-up factor, I guess.

  2. rkcal says:

    Funny stuff! I believe the overexposure in KC on training camp has been directly proportional to the absolute suckitude of our baseball franchise over the last millennium. If there ever was a pennant race in this town, balance might be restored to coverage. Eh, maybe not….lots of air time to fill. Regarding Charles, he will want a boatload of cash upfront. I don’t know how the bean counters will be able to make him, Smith and Houston all happy.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      You’re right, I think there’s a direct correlation with two things:

      1) terrible, unimportant baseball.
      2) hours and hours and hours of media to fill.

  3. mike t. says:

    the drama this training camp, even with the overkill coverage, is on Smith, Houston and, now, Charles. we also need to watch how our o-line starts to gel and who’s stepping up at wide rec’vr and in the secondary. areas of weakness all. I don’t mind the coverage and believe rkcal is right that if the Royals were in any position at all to vie for a playoff spot, coverage would be more balanced.

  4. Nick says:

    I’ve paid no attention to training camp since the Chiefs moved away from William Jewell.

  5. chuck says:

    “D’Cartridge Jackson”


  6. CG says:

    Another long season for Chumps. No shot at contending for anything. Just try and finish 3rd in their division. Well if the starting quarterbacks at San Diego and Denver..nevermind..Charles got his money…one of the few who deserved it…all the others, Hali, DJ,Eric the Barry, and Bowe likely gone next year…maybe DJ stays, outside shot Hali stays if he has big season…so most of the ‘CORE’ Chiefs will be gone in 2015…REBUILDING YEARS AHEAD..great…they are all rebuilding years.

  7. Kerouac says:

    Recall a Pittsburgh Steelers training camp story. Players, grown tired & gamey having to wear the same jock strap to both daily practices, asked the equipment manager to switch to different ones for afternoon practice.

    “OK… Smith, you’ll switch with Johnson, Johnson you’ll switch with Brown, Brown you’ll switch with…”

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