Four Too Many: Should the NFL Preseason Be Shortened?
The NFL preseason just seems to get longer and longer. They start playing games in early August, with the Hall of Fame game, and don't get to the real games until mid-September. Does it really take a coach four preseason games to figure out who is gonna make the team and who is going home?
I don’t think so…
So why do they do it you ask? Well, it’s all about the bottom dollar. Preseason ticket sales account for 20 percent of a team’s ticket revenue and about $400 million league wide. Teams sell “packaged” deals where you can buy tickets early to one of the big games of the year, but the catch is you also have to buy the same amount of tickets to one of the two preseason games.
For example, in 2005 I was on the ticket resale wagon, trying to make a few extra bucks here and there. I signed up to be a Dallas Cowboys insider when ticket sales would begin. I was notified that I could buy tickets on a certain date and was excited, until I realized I was going to have to buy more than just regular season tickets.
The game I wanted was the Colts vs Cowboys, which ended up pitting the unbeaten Colts against the Cowboys, a game in which I made a nice chunk of change. Nevertheless, I ended up having to buy 49ers-Cowboys preseason tickets, which were just as much as regular season tickets, a smart move on the Cowboys’ part.
There has been much talk about whether the league should add a 17th game. The problem here would be an unequal amount of road to home games. Since teams play 20 games (16 regular season and four preseason) why not just add two more regular season games and get rid of two crappy preseason games?
Teams are already reporting for camp in late-July and hitting the field for preseason games by mid-August, why not have the two preseason games, and start the season on Labor Day weekend? Didn’t the NFL used to start on Labor Day weekend? Oh, and didn’t the Super Bowl used to be played in January?
Since teams are already finishing the season in early January, just add another week to the end and get rid of that stupid bye week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl? It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?
But of course, what seems easy to the fans, doesn’t come off as easy to players and owners.
The question would arise as to if players should be paid more now since they are playing two extra “real” games. That answer would end up being yes, which means that exploding ticket prices would explode even more, making it more expensive for us fans to attend games.
But, nonetheless, the preseason is once again another month plus long event. This year the Canton game will feature the Bengals and Cowboys. We should get a good look at Ochocinco dancing on the sideline and Tony Romo looking for Jessica Simpson.
What do you think? Should the season be increased to 17 or 18 regular season games? Do you even care about preseason football? Would the players throw a fit about it, or like the new system?
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