Family Night Fun

The best and worst thing about football is that it's such a limited commodity. Counting the preseason, NFL fans are only guaranteed to see their teams on the field twenty times each year. That's less than a quarter of NBA and NHL seasons and less than an eighth of the MLB schedule. Packer fans, however, are lucky in that they get one more game-like event in the Packer Family Night Scrimmage.

But it's not just great for the fans. The players, too, get a great opportunity to show their worth and impressive coaches in a situation that's a lot more like a real game than practice ever will be. Considering that some of them could be cut even before the first preseason game on August 9, it's vitally important that they make the most of every single opportunity they have.

Before you dismiss the idea of a simple scrimmage being important, consider a success story from the 2001 Family Night. As a veteran, safety LeRoy Butler was either entirely excused from the scrimmage or was a very limited participant. At any rate, he was absent for much of the night, and as a result, safety Kevin Kaesviharn got quite a bit of playing time with the starting defense and against the starting offense. A well traveled rookie, having played in the arena league and the XFL before landing with the Packers, Kaesviharn likely viewed Family Night as his big shot at the NFL.  He made the most of it, intercepting Brett Favre several times, even returning one for an interception. Although he eventually was cut, Kaesviharn parlayed a strong performance in the Family Night scrimmage (and the rest of training camp) into a gig with the Cincinnati Bengals. He led Cincinnati in interceptions his first season there and eventually played in 127 games throughout an nine season NFL career. Try telling him the Family Night Scrimmage doesn't matter.

So when you sit down to watch a football-like product on your screen tonight, keep in mind that even though the guys you're seeing may not be household names yet, they might someday be carving out careers in cities far from Green Bay. If every rookie comes into the NFL with a dream, tonight could be the night that their dreams start to come true.

NewsJon Meerdink