Face it, the NFL Preseason Needs Change

Last week it was reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is in line for a five-year contract extension. Parts of the extension are still being ironed out, but it looks like Goodell is set to stay.

While there have been issues during the Goodell era, too many to go through here, there is no denying one thing:

Money has been really coming in for the league.

Per Bleacher Report, the NFL’s revenue has grown $12 billion in the past decade. Most of this is due to expanding “Thursday Night Football”, growing the league’s image overseas, and cramming in advertisements.

It is Goodell’s ambition for making money that made a statement by him a couple of weeks ago in New York so shocking: Let’s shorten the preseason.

Good idea, Mr. Goodell. Let’s do it.

It would be a great idea. That way there is less agony for fans that always seems to accumulate at this point of the year.

Most fans really couldn’t give two hoots about the preseason, it’s mainly just the hardcore ones that do. For the ones that just watch on Sundays, it’s a bit boring.

Fans don’t care about watching the fourth string players battle it out in the fourth quarter. Fans take it as seriously as they would if they were playing in the backyard, or the Pro Bowl for that matter.

Yes, it gets players prepared for the upcoming season, but how much preparation is too much? Especially when there is significant risk of injury.

As greedy fantasy owners will say, we don’t want our superstars getting hurt. The sound of owners holding their breath was audible as Odell Beckham Jr. was taken off the field in last week’s Giants game.

What’s worse for Giants’ fans, the star wideout may miss the opening game of the season against the Cowboys.

Three games are plenty of time for teams to prepare for the regular season, but that also means one less opportunity for cash to flow into the teams’ and league’s accounts. Maybe instead of focusing on the quantity of games, focus on quality.

Make it so the starters stay in longer, and the fans stay engaged.

Make the second half flag football.

Crazy idea, right? But think about it.

Last year at the Pro Bowl, there was the addition of a skills competition and a dodgeball game. The idea of Ezekiel Elliot throwing a ball at T.Y. Hilton worked really well in real life.

It’s a crazy thing that doesn’t happen a lot in the NFL — players got to have fun and be themselves.

That was also seen with the My Cleats, My Cause initiative last year. Players got to wear custom cleats, and they seemed to enjoy it. As did the fans, who ate up the cleats on social media.

Bring that idea to the preseason games. Lighten it up, and let the players have fun instead of trying to kill each other.

Nine on nine flag football, make it 1st and 15, running the ball gets you an extra down once per set of downs, ten points for a “home run” touchdown of 40 yards or more. None of these are actual rules, but they could make it a bit more fun to watch.

It’s a crazy idea, but sometimes crazy sells.

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