Every year around this time in the football season, the question of the preseason being too long always gets brought up. Some big name player will get hurt, and we will hear Steven A. Smith and Skip Bayless debating about it the next day. Does the NFL need to get a different season format and shorten the preseason? My answer is yes.
Compared to the percent of preseason games to regular season games, the NFL is by far the most. Major League Baseball plays 30-35 for a 162 game regular season, NHL will play around 7 for a 82 game season, and NBA also plays less than 10 preseason games for an 82 game schedule. The NFL on the other hand plays 4 preseason games for a 16 game schedule, thats 20% of the season for games that dont even count. These games not only dont count, but the big name players dont play past the first quarter the majority of the time. The fans know the big name players arent going to play, so why even go to the games? The NFL could do itself a huge favor by taking at least one game out of the preseason.
Another reason to shorten the preseason would be to limit the amount of players that get hurt in pointless games. You have the big name players like Michael Vick and players struggling to make the roster like Marc Mariani who get a major injury in the preseason and now lose an entire year of their career in a game that doesnt even count for anything. One way to limit the injuries would be to get rid of the games all together, or get rid of the kickoff during the preseason. We all know the kickoff is the most dangerous play in football, why not get rid of it during the preseason, but still keep it in the regular season.It all comes down to limiting the big hits and contact. Instead of full on tackles, do something like the teams sometimes do in practice, “hug tackle”. Preseason games would become pathetic if it came to that, but it’s an idea.
Getting rid of a game or two or the preseason is the most obvious option. Normally by game 3 of the preseason, teams are ready to play, and fans are ready to start tailgating. Therefore why not limit the preseason to 3 games. The first game would still be a warm up game for the starters as they would play the first quarter and then the back ups would play the rest of the game. Game two would be the game the starters play the full first half and then the back ups would play the entire second half. The third and final game would be the game that the starters play maybe a series and then the back ups would play the rest of the game to show the coaches what they got and why they should make the final roster. A three game preseason is plenty in today’s league.
The NFL is always talking about how they are going to change the format of the season, the reason it doesnt happen is because the players dont agree because the league wants to add games to the regular season. Here we are not adding any games, but taking a game away and taking into account player safety by removing the kickoff during the preseason. Now if only I was commissioner…