Four Games That Don’t Matter

As I type this, not a single down of preseason football (thanks to some mysterious paint) has yet to be played. Not a single star player has succumbed to a season ending injury in a meaningless game. 

It hasn’t happened…yet. It will though. It always does. Some fan base is going to get its heart ripped out, some GM is going to start calling fading veterans to grab a replacement. All over some games that don’t count.

20 games. 20. When you count preseason that’s how many games a NFL team plays before the playoffs. 4 preseason, 16 regular season. That’s a lot of football. Yes the starters only play about 7 quarters of football in the preseason. Still, that’s a lot of time on the field. For what? 2 games would be enough in the preseason to get the teams ready. Most of the position battles are decided in practice not preseason games. So why do we have them? Why do owners risk their multi-million dollar investments? Why do teams risk their season?

Money. Money is why. Those multi-billion dollar TV deals include the preseason. Preseason tickets cost the same as regular season tickets. Parking in preseason games is the same cost as regular season. So are concessions. NFL owners aren’t giving up 2 games of income. The NFL is selling 20 games. That’s not changing.

So what is the answer? How do we cut down on these meaningless games and pointless injuries?

Well the answer is simple; yet not easy. It is to take 2 preseason games and make them into fully counting regular season games. 

The first roadblock to this is that it means more time on the field for those stars. That the risk for injury goes up with 2 more games that mean something. 2 more games that they will play all 4 quarters of. 

Here’s my answer, it’s threefold. First you add a second bye. The extra rest, that week of healing will go further to help keep them able to play than a few quarters off in preseason.

 Second every NFL players can only be active for 17 of the 18 games. It would add an entire level of strategy of when do you have your star player inactive? When do they have that personal bye week? It makes depth of roster so much more important. It also means that if you are borderline with an injury there will be less pressure to rush back prematurely because you can just use your mandatory inactive game when you need it. 

Third you increase roster size, this allows almost every player to play fewer snaps, increasing the NFL jobs while making the battles to make the roster less important. It also allows teams to spend more time to develop young players. How do teams pay for these extra players? Well most would be league minimum guys and you now have two more games that you can increase what you charge the TV networks for those games. With the second bye and 2 more games you’ve added 3 weeks of real regular season football to the network schedules. That’s more income. 

The second roadblock is how do you evaluate young players without the extra training camp and preseason games? Well the expanded rosters actually make that a full season of development and work for guys who would have been cut in the old system. What else needs to be done is increasing the initial roster size. 

Say 90 players until week 4 then you cut to the increased regular roster size of say 75 after week 4. That allows coaches the shortened training camp, 2 preseason games and a month of regular practices and 4 regular games to make the roster decisions. 

There we have a way to add to regular season games, get rid of 2 preseason games, increase NFL profits and NFL player jobs. All while keeping the same or even lowering the entire number of downs a player plays in the course of the current 20 games structure, and actually gives them more rest to recover. It makes fantasy football more fun and allows you to see your young talent and depth on the field more.

Think anyone will listen to me?

Packers Run-Stopper Staying Home After Signing Multi-Year Contract

How does Mike Daniels feel about signing a 4 year, 42 million dollar contract with the Green Bay Packers?

“Dallas just ran for like 100-something yards, so that’s what I’m more focused on, is making sure I get back to fixing what we need to fix for Oakland,” he said. “But yes, it’s great. I’ll celebrate and enjoy it after the season.

That’s exactly the attitude that made the Packers front office not want to wait until March to lock this guy up.

The fourth year veteran has always played with a vengeance after not being drafted until the 4th round, because at 6 foot even, many scouts thought he was “too short” to battle in the trenches.

“The fact that I sign a contract doesn’t change the fact that I got overlooked in high school, doesn’t change the fact that I was consistently called short coming out in the draft, and I’m not strong and I can’t play the run and all this other stuff. It doesn’t change the fact that I had to grind to get where I’m at.” Daniels said. “It’s not going to change. It’s just how I approach the game, it’s how I play.” 

That level of play has earn him the spot this year as the best run stopping 3-4 DE, ahead of the likes of superstar J.J. Watt, and it’s kept the Packers in the running for a Super Bowl even though their high powered offense has sputtered at times this season.

“I want to win Super Bowls with this team,” Daniels said. “This is like home to me. This is a great place to be. I don’t want to be anywhere else. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories, so I’m glad I’m here.

In a league were it seems that too many players in the league have the mentality of “Show me the Money,” Daniels’ eyes are set on a much higher prize. 

“I don’t want anything to do with this,” Daniels said, referring to the financial side of things. “I want to focus on the season. I want to be in Green Bay. Make sure I’m in Green Bay.”

The scary part for opponents is, that at 26 years old this monster of a man is just entering his prime and scratching the surface of his potential.

The great part for Packer fans is, now they can just sit back, relax, and watch as the damage is done.