Trimming Preseason Figures To Be Big Part Of NFL CBA Discussions
The NFL preseason has "become more obsolete than ever before," and when the league and players negotiate a new CBA, they are "going to have to address" the issue, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. A look around the league this preseason shows that "more and more teams rest more and more players" in preparation for the regular season. It "used to be that the third week of the preseason," which began Thursday night, was the "dress rehearsal for the regular season." But now it has "become a rehearsal for nothing" and is just "another audition for teams to basically look at players to decide who’s going" to fill out the roster. Furthermore, situations like Panthers QB Cam Newton getting injured and the Raiders and Packers playing on a shortened field in Winnipeg will only lead to "more teams resting players" in the future (“Get Up,” ESPN, 8/23). In Boston, Ben Volin writes today’s NFL is "catching on to the pointlessness charade of the four-game preseason schedule" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/23). In DC, Matt Bonesteel writes, "After Thursday night, is there anyone outside a team owner’s wealth-management adviser who still supports the current length of the NFL preseason?" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/23).
SIGN OF THE TIMES: THE RINGER's Riley McAtee noted NFL teams during the third week of the preseason generally "play their starters the most, often well into the third quarter," but Thursday’s action "saw far more backups than starters." During Giants-Bengals, QBs Andy Dalton and Eli Manning "were each pulled before the end of the first quarter." During Ravens-Eagles, QBs Carson Wentz and Lamar Jackson "never saw the field." The NFL has "toyed with the idea of shortening the preseason for years now," and there has "never been a better time to cut the charade in half" (THERINGER.com, 8/22). USA TODAY's Mike Jones writes it is time for the NFL to "acknowledge that there’s really no longer any need for four weeks of preseason football." Jones: "Two weeks are enough. Then, let’s just get to the regular season. And I’m not saying the league needs to expand to an 18-game regular season slate" (USA TODAY, 8/23). In Houston, Brian Smith writes, "Two games. That’s it. Then move on to the real, important stuff" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/23).
DOWNSIZING IMMINENT? NBCSN's Mike Florio notes there has "been a lot of criticism of the preseason because we don’t see the starters play," but when they do play, "starters can get injured." Florio said the Winnipeg game was an "embarrassment and another reason" why the NFL needs to "consider shrinking the preseason" (“PFT,” NBCSN, 8/23). ESPN's Jeff Darlington noted the preseason "does serve some purpose," providing "games for developmental players." However, the "purpose it does not serve is entertainment for fans." ESPN's Mike Greenberg: “The reality of it is if they’re not going to play anybody and they’re going to play a game on an 80-yard field, then it feels as though it has jumped the shark. We need to figure some better idea” (“Get Up,” ESPN, 8/23). In Boston, Jim Hackett writes, "Cut the preseason to two games. The only tangible way to reduce the preseason injury risk and the fan indigestion that comes with it is to lower the odds of it happening." He added in an era of "joint practices during the offseason, the actual preseason games are becoming less important anyway" (WEEI.com, 8/23).