Photo by DMERK04 submitted with the Pittsburgh Beautiful app.
The NFL preseason is brutal.
I am fascinated by certain things – America’s obsession with British Royalty, social media “influencers,” and the fact that they are able to influence anyone to do anything, and why anyone cares with whom Miley Cyrus is involved – but the NFL preseason, and why a single person would part with a single penny to watch it, is at the top of my list.
The idea of preseason football is antiquated.
Every player makes enough money to devote their entire calendar year to conditioning, every team has OTA’s and mini-camps to help them organize and implement systems, and the days of players selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door in the offseason for supplemental income are long gone.
Anything that happens in a preseason context should occur in the context of practices, scrimmages, and maybe two games that allow younger players to try to earn spots by showing coaches what they can do in games.
Coaches will argue they need the four-game schedule, that it is vital to their preparation and ability to evaluate rosters, but that is a bunch of junk. Coaches would adjust and their rosters, I am very willing to argue, would look exactly the same regardless of the number of preseason games on the docket.
Owners can make up the lost revenue of preseason football, a garbage product, by adding two playoff teams to each conference and having a true wild card round – four wild card teams playing themselves into the second wild card round which would mimic the current model – divisional rounds and conference championships would remain the same.
No need to add anything to the players’ season calendar. In fact, this model would start “training camp” a week later than it already does.
Keep the schedule at 16 games. Football is too brutal a sport to play 18, and nobody on the planet would legitimately complain about two fewer preseason games. If firing up the tailgate for a meaningless Steelers/Chiefs preseason tilt on an August Friday night is your thing, maybe get a new thing.
Expanded playoffs did wonders for baseball’s regular season. Football already has the advantage of every regular season game counting. Expanded playoffs would ensure that more games matter for more teams – even fans in Cincinnati could stay interested past week five.
Well, let’s not go crazy speculating, but you catch the drift.
- Why is Ryan Switzer in the NFL? For real? What does he bring, or what is he going to bring that earns him a precious roster spot? Certainly there are more talented fifth receivers/mediocre-to-bad punt returners on somebody else’s trash heap, if not the Steelers’. Switzer should be cut.
- In an obvious effort to stoke the Pirates’ remaining fan base and ignite a fiery passion for the 2020 baseball season in Pittsburgh, Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington said last Sunday that he expects Chris Archer to do great things in the Pirates’ rotation next season. Anyone with a 2020 season ticket plan should really reconsider. Imagine the rotation of Archer, Trevor Williams, Mitch Keller, Stephen Brault and Joe Musgrove with spot starts by Dario Agrazal and, I dare you to not laugh, Chad Kuhl. Ouch.
- If the Pirates could upgrade second base, third base, right field and catcher, they’d have a good lineup. That is like saying if the Steelers could upgrade one receiver, a running back, three offensive linemen and a tight end, they could have a good offense. Four out of the eight position players should not need upgrading on a good Major League team, but that is exactly the case for the Pirates.
- Last football season I predicted 10-6 and a first round loss for the Steelers. I was eviscerated by readers for my negative take on the team. The Steelers finished 9-6-1 and missed the playoffs. Look for my 2019 prediction in next week’s Musings, and sharpen those teeth.