New England Patriots’Julian Edelman and Kansas City Chiefs’ Spencer Ware both went down over the weekend in meaningless preseason games, and are now out for the season with knee injuries. Enough is enough, NFL; let’s finally do away with these glorified exhibitions and replace them with a more controlled situation to protect your stars. Sure, the owners may sweat a little bit more losing two more chances at home game revenue, but is it worth the price of harming the overall football product?
Let’s face the facts: preseason games are not highly attended games, other than the first two quarters of play, and season ticket holders must be getting tired of their hand being forced into buying these lackluster games every year. A quick look around the league, once the fans decide to tune into these games, embarrassingly show half empty stadiums at best, watching the best players ride the bench for the majority of the game. Is this really the NFL we want to have?
The main gripe I have with the preseason is that given this “full speed” environment, and the lack of mid-season conditioning, allows for multiple chances for the players that matter most to get injured. Injuries have shrouded a huge cloud over this NFL Preseason with noteworthy names such as: Spencer Ware, Julian Edelman, Cameron Meredith, Bishop Sankey, and most recently, Bryce Petty. Let’s not forget the camp casualty of Miami Dolphins quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, who was lost for the year, with a torn ACL. Injuries are unpredictable, yet the NFL keeps putting their players in the worst possible situation by playing these meaningless games that could easily be replaced with controlled joint scrimmages/practices that would allow the coaches to evaluate their rosters.
Sure, it’s easy to outline a problem, but where is the real solution? For starters, the NFL should take a look at the laundry list of stars it lost before even one regular season game was played, and be honest about how much their product will suffer without these players. It’s time to get rid of the preseason altogether, and tell the owners they will have to get their extra two games of revenue by marketing their merchandise a little bit more creatively, and realize these games should have been gone many years ago.