With so many events going on this weekend in Canton, Ohio (dinners, autograph sessions, parades and the enshrinement ceremony), it’s easy to forget that there is a football game Sunday at 8 pm EST…YEA right!!
For us diehard fans, this is the moment we have been waiting for since the end of the Super Bowl. This is not only the Hall of Fame Game; it’s the first of 65 preseason games leading us to the beginning of the regular season—only a month away.
Two teams each year get to showcase the finale of the enshrinement weekend and for these two teams it’s an opportunity to get one more game in than the other 30 teams in the league. It unfortunately is another chance to flood the team with more injuries.
Almost 23,000 people will fill Fawcett Stadium in Canton to watch the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys begin their journey into the 2013 season and hopefully a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII. Decent weather and minimal wind will make for a comfortable night; but both teams are already uncomfortable with the injury list they keep adding to.
The Miami Dolphins come into this game with seven pre-game injuries including: Armon Binns (out for season), John Jerry and Rishard Matthews (no time table for return) and a slew of players not expected to play in Sunday’s game. Brian Hartline, Jared Odrick, Randy Starks and Mike Wallace, all facing minor injuries, will most likely go dirty up the sidelines for the entire game. Wallace, their gold mine free agent signing, is toying with a groin injury that has kept him out of most of training camp. “It feels pretty good,” Wallace said. “I feel like it’s getting there.” He goes on to express interest in playing in the HOF game, but business is business and it is unlikely the team will chance doing any more damage their star.
The Dallas Cowboys aren’t looking much better in terms of their injury list: Jay Ratliff, Kevin Kowalski, Ryan Cook, Ray Dominguez, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ron Learly are all facing problems. While none of these are season ending, it still makes you nervous going into the first of five preseason games. Tony Romo probably highlights this list, mainly because of his “super” contract extension, but also as the Cowboys starting QB for the last nine years. Owner Jerry Jones likes his progression as of late though: “I like what he’s doing,” Jones said. “He’s benefiting not only from on the field but off the field stuff. A lot of the stuff you’re seeing out there is him and some of his things. I sit in on most of the after-practice offensive meetings, and I know it’s going good from their perspective in those meetings. I’m not seeing any differences. Maybe I see playing into shape, he looks a little more comfortable out there when he started.”
Romo feels confident in his recovery, continuing to lobby for a spot in the game: “I’ve been doing good,” Romo said. “It’s been a great camp. I’m playing where I feel very comfortable right now. “We have five games, so I think the coaches are going to be smart about the process,” he said. It is nearly official; however, that Romo will not play in Sunday night’s game.
Final notes going into the return to football and the HOF game—Dallas has played in five of these games and Miami has been in four; between the two, there is only one win..since 1962. Welcome back to football ladies and gentlemen.
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