Injuries spark debate over length of NFL preseason
By HOGAN LEPORE
The game of football is very brutal on the human body. Therefore, National Football League teams have been playing exhibition, preseason, games since 1939 in order to prepare players for the long regular season. Previously, these exhibition games were prevalent in order to give players reps so that they could be prepared both mentally and physically.
In 1939, minicamps and training camps were not as predominate as they are today and so players were not as prepared. That being said, use of exhibition games in the NFL has become a norm, which is not always ideal for players today.
To reiterate, participants of the NFL today have OTAs, Organized Team Activities, rookie camps, minicamps and training camps, so it seems as if they should be ready for the season. This is a very controversial argument, and brings about advantages and disadvantages.
A couple advantages when talking about a four-game preseason are, it generates more revenue for the NFL and other broadbands associated with the NFL. The NFL allows local stations to televise games in the preseason, thus generating more revenue for the entire NFL through advertising. Another advantage is for the fans. It is more football for the millions of National Football League fans across the world.
Although it is just the preseason, according to the Chicago Sun Times, the Hall of Fame Game (NFL’s first preseason game) had more viewers than the Stanley Cup Finals.
A new coach can implement his/her playbook with more reps and can exercise plays in real time, game situations. Usually the coordinators have time to implement methods in the offseason, but there is less time in regular season games. Lastly, the main reason the preseason is four games long is for the players fighting to make the 53- man roster.
Most of the playing time in the preseason is allotted to the participants who are either undrafted or the players who have not established themselves in the National Football League yet. However, four preseason games are not ideal to all players.
A disadvantage to a long preseason is that the players who have established themselves already do not play as much, if at all in the preseason. Organizations usually sit their star players in the first and third games of the preseason, in order to evaluate players further down the depth chart. Another reason that also has to do with the players is injuries. When starters play in preseason games, there is a chance of injury and it seems that players are getting injured more frequently than ever before.
One perfect example is Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers who had a significant knee injury a couple weeks ago against the Philadelphia Eagles in the first quarter of a preseason game. Nelson, a record breaking wide receiver last year for Green Bay, ended his season on a meaningless hitch route.
Both sides have very compelling arguments, it seems like one compromise could be to reduce the preseason length from four games to two games. However, the burning question still remains: is the NFL preseason too long?