The NFL preseason begins with NBC’s telecast of the Hall of Fame Game Sunday night, which means it’s time for me once again to begin my annual boycott of exhibition games.
I enjoy watching the NFL as much as the next couch-indenting dude, but only real games. These ridiculous exhibitions are usually devoid of front-line players by the second half — if not sooner — and often notable only for resulting in injuries, but nonetheless they fill our TV screens each August. It’s bad enough clubs make season-ticket holders pay for the games, but we apparently are so football-starved that many among us will watch.
I just think it’s a collossal waste of everyone’s time — from the teams to the networks — to stage these exhibitions. It’s so different from baseball’s spring training games, which don’t take place in the regular stadiums and are such laid-back affairs that pitchers run along the outfield walls during play. The NFL preseason is somehow mounted as if the games have significance — such as how NBC is touting the appearance of Terrell Owens as a new Buffalo Bill. Whether Owens catches two touchdown passes or drops five balls, what does it matter?
I say don’t play any preseason at all. Let the teams scrimmage each other to get ready. Shouldn’t a few scrimmages along with normal training camp be enough for coaches to make their personnel decisions?
I’ve never understood why college teams can start right up with no preseason but the pros can’t. Presumably, the older, more experienced NFL players would need less preparation than the college guys.
Go from four exhibitions to zero, then add a game or two to the regular season. Those games I’ll watch.
(Showing some restraint, I refrained from using images of either Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium or the album cover from Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Pictures at an Exhibition.)