PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 27: Danny Woodhead #39 of the New England Patriots runs the ball against Brian Rolle #59 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 27, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
For 12 straight seasons, the Eagles and Jets have squared off in the final game of the preseason. No starters play in this game, no real preparation is done. Many of the decisions on who will be cut and who will make it are already made. The teams literally sign guys off the street just to make up the numbers for this one night.
The game is utterly meaningless. Case in point, Danny Woodhead.
Danny Woodhead was a UDFA out of DII school Chadron State in 2008. He was actually waived/injured that season, but returned in 2009 and went into the final preseason matchup against the Eagles still "fighting" for a job. He rushed for 158 yards (2nd highest preseason total in over 10 years) and 2 TDs in that game. It was literally one of the best preseason performances ever. If indeed the final preseason game is a guy's last shot to make the team, he would have made it.
Only he didn't. He was cut before the season. He did end up on the Jets practice squad, but point is, he didn't make the team despite an astounding effort in the final preseason game. He was cut and anyone could have grabbed him. So really, what does this game mean to a team?
On other hand, Danny Woodhead is a pretty great example of why this game does matter.
Woodhead really never did anything with the Jets. He did get signed off the practice squad and got a grand total of 15 carries. The next year though, he was signed by the Patriots and ended up becoming a relatively important piece of their offense. It's probably fair to assume that his preseason performance is what put him on the Pats' radar. So for players, this game is important. They're playing for roster spots, somewhere. For the vast majority of guys in this game, that spot will not be here. There will probably be a guy who looks very good tonight and won't make this team. It might be a DE, a WR, maybe its even a guy like Chris Polk or Trent Edwards.
Bottom line is, tonight really isn't a last shot to make the Eagles for a lot of guys. But it is a last shot to get on someone's radar.