Ed Driscoll


WHO WATCHES NFL PRESEASON GAMES? Kevin Holtsberry asks in his Pigskin football blog, adding “the potential for injuries and watching rookies is practically the only excitement”.

I suppose the only other novelty would be seeing those teams with new coaches, new uniforms, and/or new stadiums. I usually tune in, (although I don’t always make it into the second half of a game) because I’m an NFL junky and it’s the first ray of light after the long off-season, and pro football is really the only sport I follow. But I understand that the preseason is really a waste of time. Once, long ago, preseason games helped to promote the NFL, when it was struggling to achieve the attention that other professional sports received. Up until the late ’60s or early 1970s, NFL preseason games were barnstorming events, with teams often playing in small towns far from the big NFL cities.

But that was a long time ago. With the NFL now essentially the number one sport in America, and with DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket, where virtually any game is watchable by anyone, that function really isn’t needed. Although I do like the idea of the Hall of Fame game, and I’m sure the NFL likes to promote the sport in Japan, Europe, and Mexico.

I wouldn’t be averse to a two game pre-season and an 18 game regular season. Nobody likes the pre-season, except the owners, because they get to keep all, or at least much more of the gate, unlike the regular season, when revenue-sharing rules apply.