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Tale of the Tape:
Preseason NFL vs. reruns

Page 2 columnist

An interesting thing happened Monday, thanks to the arthroscopic turf at the Vet: A prime-time football game was called off, and the time slot was filled by the only programming that can rival preseason football for irrelevance: network reruns.

Randall Cunningham
The turf problem at the Vet robbed us of another preseason thriller.
Don't get me wrong, I love my NFL -- but it loses its edge when all that bleeding doesn't even dent the standings.

I also love my network TV -- it puts shoes on my baby's feet, and 92 octane in my luxury car, but God love it, that doesn't mean the stuff is built for multiple viewings, like, say, "The Godfather."

Yet all this moribund viewing be damned, are we about to lift our dimpled hindquarters off our inflatable NFL chairs and see what's going on outdoors? No, we'd rather stick it out, because a true warrior knows that we're knee-deep in the part of the television season that separates the winners from the weenies like a hamburger drill during two-a-days.

So, we've got some hard choices to make: NFL preseason vs. reruns. ... Both offer sloppy execution and meaningless outcomes, but which is the most doldrum-tastic? Let's see how they stack up in the Tale of the Tape.

Category   Preseason NFL   Reruns   Advantage
Made you cry   A rookie's touching end-zone tribute to his own groin   A three-hour "Normal, Ohio" marathon   Preseason NFL
Viewing audience   Overweight single males   Does "viewing audience" include people who just have the TV on?   Preseason NFL
They come with the territory   45 consecutive incompletions   Wacky neighbors   Push
Timeout fun   Dan Fouts guides us through a brief history of Indianapolis' right tackles.   Sexy people recommend Doritos   Reruns
Filler   Rookies, NFL Europe refugees, Tony Banks   The extras in the inevitable scene at the groovy coffee house   Reruns
Alternative programming   TiVo replay of a game from last season   All-new episode of "Fear Factor"   Preseason NFL ... and your dignity
Your worst fears realized   Watching your favorite player blow out a knee out while running to the sidelines   Watching Mathew Perry squeeze some laughs around trips to rehab   Push
Cliffhanger   Can the Bengals master the forward pass?   Did Buffy give her life for her demonic pseudo-sister?   Reruns. That brave, brave girl ...
The last thing you hear before nodding off   "And the Falcons are back to punt once again ..."   "Dharma, do we have to go to your high-school reunion?"   Reruns
A fine opportunity to   Surprise your lady with your newfound ability to walk away from a game   Startle confused on-lookers with your uncanny accuracy answering "Millionaire" questions   Reruns
Typical banter   "Al, it's like Michael Flatley in the Han Dynasty out there!"   "Restaurant? More like 'r-ass-taurant'!"   Push
Complete unknowns   The special teams in the fourth quarter   The supporting cast on "Becker"   Push
Justifications for watching   I'm researching my fantasy football draft.   Well, I've already tried reading.   Preseason NFL
You'd rather be   Watching a game that mattered   Kicked in the stomach   Preseason NFL

So, there you have it. It's all so simple when you break things down scientifically. In a two-part-canceled-midseason-replacement-season-ender, the advantage goes to ... Push! Oh m'goodness! I guess it's a toss-up between watching Ryan Leaf warming up for the final series and hearing Niles Crane utter yet another delightful quip about wine-tasting.

But hang in there. In a matter of weeks, the fall will crackle with real football and season premieres. In the meantime, would it kill you to watch a few reruns of "King Of Queens"?

Until next time, I'm Nick Bakay reminding you the numbers never lie.

Humorist Nick Bakay, currently a writer for the CBS sitcom "King of Queens," is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Page 2. He has a website at

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