I’m sitting at home last night seething and incoherently muttering to myself about death fantasies involving Richardo Colclough, Verron Haynes and a log splitter. And how Roethlisberger has 5 picks and no touchs in two starts. And how I had no weed. Even watching the Patriots get their Cotchery pounded in prime time provided little solace.

A clearing temporarily lifts from the fog of hate and, lo, bright, capsule-headed figures fill my screen and start gamboling around the field of Gillette Stadium. I thought it possible that I was having some anger-fuelled fever dream or that I had accidentally turned on Katamari Damacy, a frightening development because I don’t own the game. Instead, it was the NFL’s bemusing way of announcing that the league will hold an exhibition game next summer in Peking Bombay Mumbai Beijing between the Patriots and the Seahawks.

There have been 40 international preseason games and one Mexico outsourced regular season game since 1986. So it’s gotten to a Simpsons level of pointless travel in foreign lands. I’m still waiting for the game in Rand McNally, frankly. I’m not entirely sure why it is that other countries would go apeshit over the first of several meaningless preseason games, but then I don’t know why people here do either. But then I suppose it’s the easiest way to get a display of American might in your country without being invaded.

Lest the 1 billion potential consumers, the ones the NFL is trying to lift from their benighted, one-baby ways, are unfamilar with the two teams that they’ll get to see take five first-team snaps, NFL.com tells us, “CCTV is broadcasting the NFL’s schedule of Sunday Night Football games live in China throughout the 2006 season, culminating with an on-site telecast of Super Bowl XLI. Seattle and New England each will appear on Sunday night at least twice this season.”

That only leaves China a full year to learn the proper respect for the Patriots (last night may not have been the best start), getting just the right tea ceremony hoodie for Belichick, and letting the Seahawks install extra noise-pumping speakers into the stadium. This could also be the first meeting between Deion Branch and his former team. He’s, I think, their second or third receiver and he used to be one member of the nameless passel of targets for Tom Brady. Isn’t that exciting? China? China?