Community Tailgate: Does Preseason Need Fixing?

We’re still a few weeks away from the start of regular-season battles on the NFL gridiron, but there’s no offseason when it comes to debate amongst fans. This summer, we launched a new series here at PFR known as the Community Tailgate. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. Every weekday, we’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.

Of course, while the debate may get spirited, we ask that it all stays respectful. If you need a reminder of our rules, please check out our commenting policy. Basically, we ask that you refrain from inappropriate language, personal insults, and attacks. Speaking of commenting: we’ve made it much easier to leave a comment here at Pro Football Rumors. You are no longer required to be a registered user – simply put in your name, email address, and comment and submit.

As is often the case during the NFL preseason, we’ve seen a handful of key players go down with major injuries this summer. Most notably, star wide receivers Jordy Nelson of the Packers and Kelvin Benjamin of the Panthers suffered season-ending ACL tears, devastating blows for their teams and fantasy football owners alike. While Benjamin’s injury happened in a practice, Nelson’s occurred in a game, restarting an annual debate about the value of the preseason, with Aaron Rodgers among those weighing in.

“It’s difficult to lose a guy like that in a meaningless game. This game doesn’t mean anything,” Rodgers said in a postgame news conference, per Rob Demovsky of Asked if he felt the preseason schedule should be reduced from four games to a lesser number, the reigning MVP replied, “I think a lot of players around the league probably do. At least cut it down, maybe, to a couple.”

Another former MVP, Adrian Peterson, expressed a similar sentiment today, pointing to all the players who have torn ACLs so far this preseason and suggesting teams should just play three games, rather than four (Twitter links via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press).

Of course, for players like Rodgers and Peterson, whose roster spots are assured this year and – most likely – for as long as they want to keep playing, the preseason is less significant. For players fighting for the 52nd or 53rd spot on the their respective teams’ rosters, those games are a little more crucial. There are a number of players around the NFL who may have never received their shot on a roster if not for those extra couple preseason contests.

Trimming the number of preseason games from four to two also wouldn’t reduce the risk of injuries in those games — it would simply cut back on the total number of preseason injuries. And you could make the case that less preparation before the season would result in more injuries once the real games gets underway.

In a column today for Sports on Earth, Ross Tucker argues that if teams want to reduce the risk of preseason injuries to star players, they should simply keep those stars off the field during the so-called “meaningless” games. In Tucker’s view, the NFL isn’t likely to play any fewer preseason games anytime soon, since getting an extra two home games for each franchise is a significant source of revenue around the league.

What do you think? Is the preseason schedule a problem that needs to be fixed? If so, how would you propose fixing it? Does it make sense for the NFLPA to trade a reduction in preseason games for an increase in regular season games? Or is there another solution that might make more sense? Weigh in below in the comment section with your thoughts!

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4 comments on “Community Tailgate: Does Preseason Need Fixing?

  1. Rory Parks

    While I think the fact that preseason games cost as much as regular season games is ludicrous, I don’t see how eliminating the preseason or trimming it to two games solves the problem. Established starters need to tune up prior to the regular season, and the only way they can work on certain things is in live game action. But most established starters don’t play the fourth game anyway, so as far as devastating, season-altering injuries, cutting the preseason from four games to two is really only eliminating one game, not two. And backups/players vying for a roster spot certainly need ample time to prove their worth in a live game, and having just two preseason contests just does not leave enough time for everyone on a 90-man roster to get a fair shake, since the starters need to get in some work as well. The first couple of regular season games tend to be relatively sloppy anyway; eliminating the preseason would certainly have a negative impact on the regular season product.

  2. Sam Robinson

    Shortening the preseason would further the workload-lightening that’s ensued since the new CBA became law. Players are already working much less than they were, with two-a-days now having gone by the wayside. And some of these ACL tears occur on non-contact sequences that could just as well occur in shells-only practices as opposed to not-that-serious competition. Shortening it further could mean more injuries come September as a drastic intensity increase would take place. So I don’t see much difference for the veterans. If coaches don’t want them getting exposed, especially in cases like Green Bay where they’re mostly running the same system they have for years, simply hold the veterans out like some coaches do with star running backs. These games are critical for rookies and UDFAs that would have far less of an opportunity to stand out for their own teams and others that look for post-cutdown-day help. So keeping four but doing so with a greater emphasis on resting the established starters as much as possible is an area to work toward.

  3. TunaGiant

    Why dont the owners open the gates n say comon in!! The concessions could pay the bill make it a scrimmage!! I know its all about the MONEY!! BILLON $ owners n their pawns!! DO AWAY with the insurance on the players pre season n see what happens!!! You wont see these injuries per say!!!! Again open the gates n see how many kids get to see the games who probably never would!!!

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