Is it time for the NFL to kill its preseason?

by Gary Shelton on August 29, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Coaches fear injuries in preseason games./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 4 a.m.

Shoot it. Pull the plug. Smother it.

Whatever you have to do, kill this thing called "the NFL preseason."

I find it boring. You find it boring. Heck, the players and coaches mostly think it's boring.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on

It is an endless series of dress rehearsals played largely by players you can forget by opening day. It is dull, and it is tedious. It is paying big money for a ticket so you can watch a player stretch, then turn to the guy next to you and say "Who is that?"

And it is time to turn off the lights.

Maybe there was a time when preseason football mattered, back in the time of three-a-days and full contact practices. These days, coaches are more concerned with keeping their players healthy. That's a noble goal, but it hardly meshes with paid entertainment.

More and more, coaches are backing away from the preseason. Saquon Barkley of the Giants hasn't carried at all this preseason. Neither has La'Veon Bell.

Locally, Jameis Winston has thrown all of 29 passes, his fewest for any preseason in his career, even though there is new coach to impress in a contract year.

Receiver Mike Evans doesn't have any catches. None.

Running back Ronald Jones, trying to prove to the Bucs that he can be a big-timer, has 10 carries this season. Peyton Barber has eight.

Devin White, a rookie with much to learn, has been in enough to get two tackles. But not three.

Hey, preseason football has always been a matter of grand larceny. For years, owners have charged full-game prices for these glorified practices, managing not to blush as they did so. But the price of a ticket isn't nearly as important now as it used to be for owners.

Now, with teams spending 2-3 days a week with controlled scrimmages, the importance of preseason has taken another whack.

Even Roger Goodell, the guy who hears cash registers dinging, has questioned whether four preseason games are needed. More and more, coaches seem to agree with him. The Rams' don't want to take part in preseason games. Neither do the Bears.

So where is this all heading? It's heading toward lopping off at least two preseason games. Maybe that leads to an 18-game season. Maybe it leads to expanded playoffs.

Look, I like football. I don't like this.

That alone should tell you we have a problem.


{ 0 comments… read it below or Subscriptions }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: