Football season is back, and for NFL fans it is a time to rejoice. The official season
opener doesn’t kick off until September 10th; however, the preseason has been ongoing since
Preseason games give fans an opportunity to get a glimpse of their favourite teams before
the season actually starts, and it ends the February to August withdrawal that NFL fans suffer
from, with the exception of free agency and the draft. Its purpose was originally to allow the
coaches to get a look at the new or backup players and allow them to make decisions about their playing time during the real season.
The fan interest that the preseason generates hugely benefits the business side of football and the sheer income gained from four extra weeks of income from merchandise, tickets, TV deals, etc. is in the millions. The NFL, its fans, and the owners could not be happier about the
preseason, however, not everyone is pleased. Ask Green Bay’s pro-bowl wide receiver Jordy Nelson how he feels about the preseason, after he suffered season-ending ACL tears in a meaningless preseason game in August. Nelson, who was 4th in receiving yards and 2nd in touchdowns among all pass-catchers last season, is former MVP Aaron Rodgers’ number one target and will be sorely missed this season.
This raises the question: why did the 8th year veteran need to play preseason games?
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy knows exactly how good Nelson is, and Nelson did not require the NFL experience, being a Super Bowl champion and pro-bowler. Nelson is one of more than 80 players who will be missing or hampered by injury for at least part of the 2015 season, with most of these injuries coming from practices and preseason games.
The NFL has 32 teams with each team being allowed a 53 man roster, meaning that there
are approximately 1,696 NFL players (32 X 53). If you take our figure of 80 injured players that means that about 4.7% of the NFL are injured before the real season even starts!
Like any other business, the NFL is profit-motivated, and that has harmed the players and the teams. Like any other business the NFL is profit-motivated, and the big business mindset of the league has turned the preseason into something bigger than it should be, threatening the safety of its often-hurt players. With the NFL trying to change its perpetually negative public image by constantly putting emphasis on player safety, why don’t we leave the preseason for the rookies and the bench players, because ultimately, I’d rather see players of Jordy Nelson’s caliber playing in January rather than August.