Following Bruce Arians' announcement that he won't play his starters, the Cowboys also sat most of their first-stringers, though safeties Byron Jones and Jeff Heath, and offensive linemen La'El Collins and Jonathan Cooper did play. Kellen Moore will start in place of Dak Prescott at quarterback for Dallas.
Before you close your browser and take up disc golf or lawn darts, we have reasons for you to tune in:
- Live NFL football will be played for the first time since February. This is a good thing, folks.
- Tonight will feature the on-field debut of two fancy football accessories: medical tents, and on-field replay. Thanks to technological advances, tablets can now provide video replay. No more need for going under the hood! Perhaps we'll get some intense, quizzical facial expressions from replay officials. Call in the lip readers!
I can't really think of anything exciting about medical tents, except that they remind me of those tents they had on the sideline at Lambeau Field during the Ice Bowl. That, and they're Aaron Rodgers' favorite way to get taped in the upper thigh region.
- Kellen Moore, lost to a broken ankle last season (which expedited the unexpected ascension of Dak Prescott to the Dallas throne), will start for the Cowboys tonight. Moore holds the NCAA record as the winningest quarterback in college football history. He could play into the second half, NFL Network's Steve Wyche reported, in part because the team's other quarterbacks were recently signed and are still learning the offense. Tonight will also be Moore's first significant action since the injury. Can he add a victory in the Hall of Fame Game to his resume?
- If you missed Blaine Gabbert in the second half of last season, you can get your fill on Thursday night. Gabbert, the projected third quarterback behind Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, will start for the Cardinals.
- We didn't have a Hall of Fame Game last season, thanks to a groundskeeping issue that left the field unsafe for play. We're already off to a better start in 2017!
- As a good friend of mine has texted me at kickoff of the Hall of Fame Game every year for the last decade, the start of the march toward the Super Bowl begins tonight. Feel that? That wasn't a brisk breeze moving through -- that's football being back, folks. Enjoy it.