As a young, avid NFL fan, I enjoy the calm (training camps, Draft) before the storm (regular season), yet I find the preseason as the ultimate tease, like right before you take a final, you have a “pre-final”, after all that studying you did, or like a carrot being dangled in front of the rabbit, only to see the carrot being dragged away the closer it gets. Preseason reminds us that while we are on the cusp of actual NFL gameplay, we must wait even longer, and to me, it is nearly unbearable I would not even call it “NFL gameplay”, it is fake gameplay, designed only for experience and eliminating rust. Madden is more realistic football than preseason.
Now, I have to admit, preseason is a double-edged sword. After all, whether you are a rookie or a veteran, no amount of mini camps and OTAs can prepare you for the real thing, so playing against another team is vital for practice, like in preseason. Moreover, it must be said that preseason does offer us fans glimpses of what to expect for the regular season, such as high profile rookie expectations, new formations and plays, and how well a player fares on a new team, for instance.
Nevertheless, it is all a tease, and thank God it is only 4 games (might even be less, according to NFL Commish Roger Goodell). Four games, including the Hall of Fame game, which is an even bigger waste. When I watch football games, I want them to count for something. A long pass, a great run, a comeback, a thrashing, it’s almost for nothing if it counts only for experience. Anything great in a preseason game is only a moral victory. When I see my Dallas Cowboys beat someone in preseason, I smile, but that is pushing it. All it means is that we had a good scrimmage, nothing more, nothing less. I get used to seeing a lot of the second string team, the backups. Again, having experience for your backups is by no means terrible, but for 4 whole games, it’s disappointing; If your team is really good, this might be the best time for your backups to shine anyways. Even more so than that, having to pay for a preseason game, see your favorite players for a quarter (or less), and then suffering through trying to remember which backup is on the field, is pretty lame.
Goodell wants to limit preseason to two games, citing that like in the past where the NFL went from 6 preseason games to 4, now is the time to consider decreasing the number again. The only drawback would be that the regular season is extended, and for injury reasons, I think that is a huge mistake, but that’s another argument for another time. I think preseason is important to an extent, but not to the extent that we need four entire games to prove it.
Rachel Cohen, Goodell: NFL no longer needs 4 preseason games, Yahoo Sports