Shortening The NFL Preseason Is Long Overdue

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - AUGUST 08: Jermaine Kearse #18 of the Detroit Lions leaves the field after injury while playing the New England Patriots in an NFL preseason game at Ford Field on August 08, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The time has come once and for all to shorten the NFL preseason. Too many torn pectorals, torn ACLs, torn Achilles, broken bones, etc. are happening far too often. It is long overdue to shorten the preseason schedule from four games to two games.

After six months of a long offseason, we as fans are always excited for NFL training camps to open. Our favorite teams have hopefully made improvements through the draft, trades, and free-agent signings. There is always some form of trepidation though when it comes to training camp and pre-season games. The words we all fear: season-ending injury or placed on Injured Reserve. Unfortunately, this is a far too common theme and occurrence leading up to the regular season.

Shortening The NFL Preseason Is Long Overdue

Players Are Bigger, Faster and Stronger

I have already counted nine significant injuries both in OTAs, training camp and the first two preseason games. Some players are bigger, household names than others. Athletes today are so big, strong, and fast, that injuries are bound to happen. Training camps today are very intense. Practices are very intense. Football is a physical, violent game. Some non-contact injuries are unavoidable and are a total fluke with bad luck. Injuries are part of the game. It just seems to be a little easier to accept a season-ending injury in a regular-season game. The devastating ones that occur in OTA’s, training camp, and pre-season games are much harder for us as fans to accept.

Not Needed for Veterans

We all know that four preseason games are not needed for most veteran players. Star players like Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons indicate every year that he gets plenty of reps in practice. This is all he needs in order to get his timing and rhythm down with Matt Ryan. As a result, he does not play in a single preseason game. Come week one of the regular season, he and many other veteran players are more than prepared and ready. It’s all about timing, rhythm, and cadence. Established veteran players know the risks of playing meaningless preseason games. This is why the majority of them don’t even dress for these games and are on the sidelines in street clothes.

The third preseason game used to be known as a “dress rehearsal” for rookies and many players fighting for roster spots. This is when rookies, undrafted free agents, and others have to prove themselves and catch the coaching staff’s eye in order to obtain a roster spot. Unfortunately, significant injuries will happen to some of these players, regardless of which preseason game it is. A list of either season-ending or significant injuries in 2019 training camp and/or preseason games includes players such as Jermaine Kearse, Gabe Jackson, Nate Sudfeld, Oren Burks, E.J. Gaines, Trent Taylor, Shon Coleman, Steven Means, and Andrew Vollert.

While some are more household names than others, these significant injuries will result in missed time either way. This doesn’t make it any easier for fans to accept.

The NFL Must do the Right Thing And Shorten The NFL Preseason

The NFL is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Four preseason games generate additional revenue for all organizations. It is a business and this is what it boils down to. We as fans understand this. A reduction of preseason games would lower each team’s revenue.

The majority of fans and most players don’t feel as though a Four game preseason is necessary. The quality of most of these games is sometimes painful to watch. Keeping their star players healthy should be the number one goal of the league. Shifting games from the preseason to the regular season has captured much of the public’s attention. It is fair to ask how much longer the NFL will take to address the shortcomings of the preseason. It is ultimately in the league’s hands to do the right thing and address this problem.

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