The football itch has infected nearly every part of my being. I’m not sure if it’s because of the unusually cool summer in northeastern Pennsylvania or because my brother is playing the second season of Last Chance U on repeat, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve craved football so badly.
I’ve attempted to mirror the genuine experience of football by throwing out routes to my dog in the backyard. His route running is sloppy and he doesn’t have any hands but he’s got a solid forty time.
One would think this type of withdrawal from America’s most popular sport would lead me to cling onto anything football related and while I’m guilty of this in some regards, there is one marketing ploy I just can’t get myself even remotely excited for. Preseason Football.
As the Hall of Fame game flickered on my TV as I walked by this past weekend, the realization that football had arrived almost sent me into a state of paralysis. Yet after watching two plays, my excitement quickly dimmed and I realized real football won’t start until the end of August when a couple lucky college teams kick off.
This disinterest in glorified scrimmages stems from the lack of fluidity in game play, a very obvious absence of elite talent on the field, and the pointlessness of the game’s outcome. This got me to wondering, why are these games played at all?
Coaches get entire training camps to identify talent and throw the best eleven players on the field for both sides of the ball, not to mention special teams. Why are these half-effort scrimmages necessary? I mean, four more games just leads to injury risks. What is a coach going to learn in that third game that he didn’t know in the second or first?
Exposing these professional athletes to more hits, especially when the contact is essentially meaningless, can’t do the NFL any favors in regards to the CTE claims that have ravaged the perception of the league. I understand contact occurs in practices as well but that type of physical play can be monitored or altered however the coaches deem necessary.
If the safety of players is not a persuasive enough argument to end these pointless scrimmages, just ask any one of your friends if they are excited for or can even name when the next preseason game is on. This product being thrown out by the NFL isn’t resonating with anyone.
As much pull as football has on the general public of the U.S. there are still limits to which the NFL can be successful. Even for football starved fans like myself, preseason football is like visiting the autobahn only to find out that they’ve recently implemented stringent speed limits.
If teams want to organize training camp scrimmages, that’s their prerogative but parading these games around on TV is a hollow, deflating sort of tease for a sport that offers so much in regards to excitement.
This is sort of just me pining for real football, and in about a month this article will have fallen out of my memory, but as I write this in the beginning of August, I wouldn’t mind my first taste of the sport to be something with a bit more substance than a glorified scrimmage.
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