The NFL's preseason is off and running and that means fans get to pay full price to watch the starters play less than half the game. It's also the time when the winners get to chant, "Our 80 man roster being played for observational purposes is better than your 80 man roster being played for observational purposes." But that is why they play the preseason after all. It gives the 45 or so players who know they're going to make the team a chance to get into game shape and the remaining players a chance to prove the deserve one of the remaining available roster spots, or at the very least that they deserve a spot on the practice squad.
But we can also learn other things in the preseason. So far I've learned that Speedway is the official convenience store of the Indianapolis Colts and that Wicks sugar cream pies are their official pie, although I still haven't found out who their official hemroid medicine provider is. And in case you were wondering, the Colts have 240 official sponsors. Just as an aside, I understand why a Pop Warner team would need some sponsors, but why does a football team worth $609 million according to Forbes need a sponsor? They should just be honest and say they have 240 companies willing to pay them money so the Colts will shamelessly plug them. The announcer could say something like, "When you're running low on gas or just want to snack on food that will clog your arteries, make sure to stop at Citizen gas. With hundreds of Citizen gas locations throughout the Indianapolis area to choose from, there's always one close by. Citizen gas, we like taking their money."
I also got in depth analysis for the offensive/defensive mathup between David Carr and Kavell Conner and learned that Diyral Briggs is a second year player out of Bowling Green, since the Colts announcing crew made sure to remind me every time Briggs made a play. It's like they found it amazing someone from Bowling Green actually made it into the NFL and had to keep reminding us of that incredible accomplishment.
There's also no better instrument for building a cult following around a fringe NFL player than the preseason. Kory Sheets gets turned into the next Rodger Craig. Nate Davis is the second coming of Joe Montana. And who can forget about the time Thomas Clayton led the league in rushing during the preseason? Quick quiz! Who led the league in passing the same preseason Thomas Clayton led the league in rushing? It was everyones favorite ex-49er J.T. O'Sullivan.
More after the jump.
Now there's talk of changing the preseason. NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell has talked about reducing the number of games played from 4 to 2 and increasing the number of regular season games from 16 to 18. He was quoted as saying, "It's clear fans don't want four preseason games. It's clear the players don't want four preseason games. They tell me that all the time. You ask them that question and they'll tell you. And we really don't need to make the game better. So we have to evolve just as we did a couple of decades ago when we went from six preseason games to four." And by a couple of decades ago he means over 3, back in 1978.
Personally I couldn't imagine a preseason that was 6 games long. Do coaches really need 6 games to know LeRoy Vann won't be on the final roster? In his case they didn't even need 1. That was a cult following that got cut down long before it ever got going. And while I think everyone can agree that 6 games was too many, there are some who feel playing only 2 preseason games won't be enough.
Is 2 games enough for some of the bubble players to show they belong and is it long enough for the regulars to get into game shape? What compounds the problem even more is that with only 2 preseason games the regulars are going to have to play more to get into shape since they have less time. That has the double effect of cutting back even more on the bubble players chance to shine and possibly increasing the risk of an injury to a starter.
So what, if anything, should be done? After consulting the very scientific formula that is my gut feeling, I think 3 games is the ideal number for the preseason. The starters hardly play at all in the 4th preseason game and I'm pretty sure the coaches already know who's going to make the team by that point. The NFL would be able to increase their revenue by including a 17th regular season game and the fans would get to watch real football 1 week earlier. Cigars for everyone!