I live in South Florida where we have two seasons, hurricane and tourist season. In the realm of the NFL year, there are four seasons; offseason, preseason, regular and post-season. And just as certain as death, taxes and the sun rising in the East each morning, the debate about the NFL preseason at this point in the year rears it’s head each and every season. Do we need four preseason games?
For as long as I can remember, between the second and third week of the NFL preseason, this debate comes up every season. Teams suffer key injuries and talk radio and the internet fills up with chatter about whether or not all four games are really necessary.
Unlike the casual fan, I actually watch every preseason game, either live or on DVR. I believe the DVR was invented by a football fan as a way to wade through preseason football games faster. I suppose that broadcasters need something to chat about in the start of the fourth quarter of a game featuring players which likely will not be on NFL rosters come Week One of the regular season but the argument is moot.
Every year, fans are told that players are getting stronger and faster as well as being in better physical shape. The new terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement limits the amount of physical contact players can have in the offseason and training camp. Yet injuries still continue to occur. That will never change and it has nothing to do with preseason or the regular season.
In 2008, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady went through the preseason and didn’t last the first half of the Patriots first game against the Kansas City Chiefs, being lost for the entire season with a knee injury. His injury would have happened had the NFL reduced the number of preseason games to two or eliminated them completely. His injury had nothing to do with conditioning. It was a fluke.
Yes, once again this season there is a laundry list of NFL players which have been injured in the preseason. If you reduce the preseason to two games, there will still be dozens of players on the injury list by Week Two of the regular season. The NFL is trying to reduce the number of concussions, but the number of injuries to other areas of the body are never going to be eliminated.
The only reason this four game preseason remains is that each owner gets revenue from two home games. Owners stick it to season ticket holders, charging full price for those two preseason home games which are glorified scrimmages. Owners collect parking and concession revenues in those games as well. This is the underlying reason why owners are pushing for an 18-game regular season. Owners want to convince fans that they want more meaningful football, all the while telling the media that they are concerned about player safety.
The four game preseason will never go away until the owners get another two regular season games. This is all about money. Fans, sports radio hosts and internet posts can lament the length and reasoning of the NFL preseason for the entire month of August, but the money controls the decisions. Injuries be damned, nothing is going to change anytime soon.
Filed under: NFL