This space has been belittling preseason football for a decade. These games have no relevance. They have never had any relevance. And they are a useless health risk. It seems the entirety of the league has finally figured that out. And now the media has noticed!
Pre season is officially broken.. and needs a complete overhaul.
— trey wingo (@wingoz) August 19, 2019
Step 1. Two Games.
One of the biggest issues with the preseason is the ridiculousness of playing four games. The only reason these four games exist is because owners (a) can rip off their season ticket holders by forcing the purchase on them and (b) charge exorbitant rates to local television providers for the broadcast rights. But networks are getting smarter and starting to realize these games not only have no value in their second halves, they have almost no value from the opening whistle. Thus you’ll notice endless commercials for local car dealers.
So cut the thing in half. And really push one of the two games as a developmental display. That means don’t play a single starter or relevant player. I would have been far more interested in seeing Tyler Bray play four quarters than seeing the Chase Daniel play with a bunch of guys he’ll never see in actual game action. Especially when you consider the Bears are a Mitch Trubisky or Daniel injury away from Bray being a pivotal component of their 2019 roster.
But the point here is ending the duplicity of the enterprise. Stop pretending these games are in any way a preparation for the regular season. It’s insulting.
Step 2. Free Entry, Half-Price Concessions Including Merchandise
Open the gates to everyone for the one game you’d be hosting.
Sell beer and soda and hot dogs for half price.
Sell jerseys and hats and all that bullshit for half price.
Turn this preseason game into a celebration of the fans. Make it ABOUT them. A father is way more likely to buy jerseys for the kids if the jerseys are $50 instead of $100. And he’ll definitely slam down a few $6 MGDs.
Step 3. Open Regular Season with Non-Conference Schedule
Every team in the league should play their non-conference games in the opening month. And the results of those games should ONLY be used as tiebreakers when it comes to sorting out division champions and wild cards. This would enable a team to find their footing in the season. The games still matter. They still count. But a 1-3 start doesn’t cripple your chances to make the postseason.
Terrific fan experience.
New regular season schedule that allows teams to wade gently into the seasonal waters.
Who loses here? (The owners. That’s why it won’t ever happen.)