Are NFL Pre-Season Games Really Necessary?
For The Record
So many times during the month of August National Football League fans and Fantasy Football followers are saddened because one of their favorite players got injured in an exhibition game.
Most coaches don’t like these games, although they probably are necessary to determine who will be the final 10 players to make their 53-man roster for the regular season.
These games are relatively meaningless as far as winning and losing is concerned, but in reality, these games generally sell out to those football nuts who have missed the sport for the past seven or eight months.
And because attendance is so great for these exhibition contests, team owners love them because the games are certainly a cash cow for them.
Players can only play at one speed, which is 100 per cent, and it’s difficult to try to play the game trying not to get hurt. That’s usually when injuries occur.
I saw an article about this subject on the internet last weekend “NFL Thinking About Eliminating Preseason Games” authored by Sportsnaut that begins: “Outside of the financial implications, there are a lot of reasons for the NFL to end the preseason as we know it.
“First off, the product itself stinks. With all due respect to third and fourth stringers, we aren’t ponying up cash to watch them play. We surely aren’t doing so when it comes to a game that doesn’t count in the standings.
“Secondly, preseason injuries continue to spoil it for the players and teams. Heck, just last week Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo went down to a serious-looking back injury.”
It went on to point out that Romo’s injury will keep him out for the next 6-10 weeks. This seems to be the norm rather the exception for the Cowboy’s signal caller. In fact, Romo has not played an entire NFL season since 2012.
“Should entire seasons and the aspirations of a team be destroyed due to a meaningless preseason game? the article inquires.
“Finally, the preseason itself is too long. Most summers see at least two teams that have to suit up for five games with the other 30 playing a total of four games. Doesn’t that seem like a little bit of overkill?” the article asks.
According to ESPN’s Seth Wickersham’s reporting, the powers to be within the NFL are at least thinking about changing the makeup of the preseason itself.
It could be an indication to shorten the preseason slate, although it seems highly unlikely that the NFL would do away with the preseason altogether because the proceeds from television rights remain relatively high.
“Any time a league that’s hell-bent on maintaining its status as the sport world’s biggest cash cow faces a decision like this, it usually sides with the almighty dollar. Don’t expect that to change anytime soon,” the article concluded.
But what has changed is the fact NFL head coaches have the preseason figured out. According to this week’s edition of The Sporting News, “The coaches goal has never been to play these games to entertain the season ticket holders or TV fans. They’ve made it clear it’s not to let their best players get broken.
“To the coaches in the grand scheme of things and with some relatively small exceptions, preseason games are useless. So if you’re still fighting to save these four exhibition games, understand that your island is a lot lonelier this year, and will only get lonelier from now on.
“Ask Rex Ryan. He took his Buffalo Bills team to Washington Friday, then sat five defensive starters and two offensive starters, then pulled out most of the rest after two series.
“There was little criticism, but it really wasn’t toward him. It was more about the idea that revenue was collected, parking and concessions were paid and TV contracts were signed for a game that the coach, on behalf of his players and the games that count, had almost zero reason to fully engage it,” the article stated.
It also pointed out that Aaron Rodgers didn’t play for the Packers until Friday night in San Francisco, playing just two possessions.
Tom Brady’s only preseason appearance on Friday, off the bench, lasted just four series. Ben Roethlisberger appeared in only two series Friday against the Saints.
The article stated that in Week 2, the Vikings made a late, surprise decision to sit Teddy Bridgewater. Washington made the same decision with Kirk Cousins that same week as did the Chargers with Philip Rivers. All of them, one way or the other, were being protected from unnecessary risk.
“Quarterbacks get the most notice. The other positions are similarly protected. There are fewer and fewer reasons to play even mildly injured players any week of the preseason, including the once-crucial third week. Now sitting healthy players is less unusual.
“The ideas that there’s no other way to fill the last few spots on the roster, and that veterans can’t get sharp otherwise are being blown up before our eyes.
“And they’re being blown up by the people who know best—the coaches,” the article concluded.
KWICKIES…Former Little Cypress-Mauriceville football and basketball star Mitchell Lee has de-committed to play football at Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond and has decided he wants to attend Tyler Junior College to play baseball. Lee suffered an elbow injury during the high school state baseball playoffs last spring which may have influenced his decision.
Last weekend was a pretty darned good one for Orange area high school football teams, with Vidor and LCM the only schools to open the season without a win. Defending state champion and No 2 Class 4A West Orange-Stark looked almost unstoppable against the Nederland Bulldogs, Bridge City crushed Hamshire-Fannett, Orangefield blasted past Buna, Orange Community Christian needed to overtimes to subdue Spring Providence and Deweyville thrashed Colmesneil. This week Vidor travels to Pasadena for a Thursday contest, West Orange-Stark visits LCM, Bridge City travels to Houston North Forest, Orangefield takes on Kirbyville, Deweyville is at Burkeville and Orange Community Christian ventures to Bryan to lock horns with Allen.
Although The Houston Astros had a decent week, they still remain three games out of the final playoff slot and 8½ games behind the AL West-leading Texas Rangers going into Monday’s action. Some of the starting pitchers are having shaky early innings with some of the relievers faltering in the late innings. The hitting is getting a bit better and the home runs continue to fly out for the Astros.
The San Francisco 49ers third-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been stirring up a commotion with his refusal to stand up during the national anthem. The NFL contends that it is his First Amendment right and leaves him alone. But the league balked when the Dallas Cowboys players wanted to wear a patch with the names of the five police officers slain last month on their uniforms.
The top two Class 6A teams in last week’s Associated Press preseason state high school football poll were upset in their respective season openers. No. 1 Katy was edged by Austin Westlake 32-29 and No. 2 Lake Travis fell to Converse Judson 35-25.
JUST BETWEEN US…I enjoyed watching Endwell, N.Y. defeat South Korea 2-1 Sunday afternoon at Williamsport, Pa. to win the Little League World Series. It marked the first time a team from the United States won the title since Huntington Beach, California turned the trick in 2011. And it was only the third time a team from New York was world champs. Mid-Island from Staten Island, N.Y. won the last title in 1964 and the 1954 team from Schenectady, N.Y. on which I was the shortstop and the Most Valuable Player, was the first team from the Empire State to win the title.