Just like you, I’m a huge fan of the NFL and our Pittsburgh Steelers, and just like you, I get very excited for the start of preseason.
There has been a lot of questions recently about whether the preseason is simply too long and if they should scale the amount of games back, possibly as a precursor to a longer regular-season schedule. The NFL has been using the general four-game preseason format for many years now.
I would like to see the preseason shortened to three games maximum for each team as that should be plenty of time for teams to not only make final decisions on the 53-man roster but also evaluate the talent they have. In the first preseason game, the starters generally go out and play a couple of series at most before being replaced by the second-string guys for the majority of the first half.
The second half features the third-string guys, rookies and players trying to make names for themselves. Watching the first preseason game of the year, I generally nod off about midway through the third quarter.
In the second preseason game, the starters go a bit further, usually into the second quarter before the next set of guys come in and play through the third and the rest finish the game off. In the third exhibition, the starters will play the entire first half and on occasion even go into the third quarter before the second string usually finishes out the game with a mixture of rookies and long-shots.
The final preseason game is absolute torture to watch because it’s like the first game all over again, except it’s the final opportunity for players to catch on with the team or be cut the next day.
I would like to see the NFL go to the three-game preseason format and use these games much like Major League Baseball does, in building up the starters while evaluating the backups. It also decreases the chances of injuries and would allow the NFL to start their season two full weeks prior to when they start now, leading up to the potential of an 18-game season, two bye weeks and the Super Bowl being played smack dab in the middle of February TV “sweeps,” when advertisers set their rates based on a week of ratings.
I would also like to see NFL rosters be expanded beyond the current 53-man rosters that would not include the kicker, punter and long snapper. I think that each team should have these three positions on their team while not affecting the team’s ability to carry extra guys.
It would basically be a 56-man roster. Some teams do not carry a long snapper and some people may say that it’s a luxury to have a guy on the team that does only that duty, but I believe it should be mandatory for teams to have these guys.
(Check back later this week on City of Champions for more changes Eric Scot would make to the NFL.)