The annual Hall of Fame Game kicks off the NFL's preseason and gives two teams an extra week of training camp and preparation for the regular season. The Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens are those clubs this year, but will they really benefit from the extra practice time and one more preseason game?
Recent history suggests they will.
Taking the last five Hall of Fame contests into account (note: 2016 was canceled due to poor field conditions), the winners have combined to go 41-39 in the regular season. The best season was had by the Vikings in 2015. They defeated the Steelers, 14-3, and went on to enjoy 11 wins.
The Cowboys were last year's winner (defeated the Cardinals 20-18); they went 9-7.
Only two of the last five winners have gone on to have losing records. In 2014, the Giants won the Hall of Fame Game and finished the regular season 6-10. In 2012, the Saints finished 7-9.
Still, the Bears (who've won only 14 games over the last three years) are on a quest to get back to respectable football, and the Hall of Fame Game results suggest the extra scrimmage will help get them there.
And that doesn't just apply to the winning team. Losing teams from the last five Hall of Fame games have gone 40-40 in the regular season, with everyone but the 2012 Cardinals finishing at or above .500.
So while the game itself may have little to no meaning, the extra week of work has had positive results for participating teams the last few years.