Well HAPPY NEW YEAR, Rookies! A new season is [finally] upon us, and I’m excited for some football! I have a few surprises planned for this season. But first, let’s start with a RookieGirl standard: A STUPID QUESTION!
What’s the point of all these pre-season games? Like, they don’t even count, right?
Right. Pre-season games do not count in the technical records of teams (although you’ll hear a commentator remark that a team “went 3 and 1 in the pre-season.” Remember wins are listed before losses, so she’d be saying that a team won 3 and lost 1 … of their games that didn’t count.).
And when I say “they don’t count,” I mean it!
That goes for team standings as well as personal statistics. The longest field goal ever is by Ola Kimrin for 65 yards! Never heard of him? That’s because it’s not really a record – it was during a pre-season game!
It’s all about the rookies.
That should make us feel good! Of course, I’m talking about those untested first-year players. The coaches want to see how they do on the field: are they making the plays? Running their routes? Reading and blocking? Do they mesh well with the other players on the team?
So, the game is a lot less about winning and losing and a lot more about trying out what (and who) works – and doesn’t. As Seahawks Corner Richard Sherman said in his blog this week,
Although we fell short to the Broncos 22-20, we took advantage of the opportunity to get some game time for our younger players. A handful of our running backs saw the field, and showed off our depth at that position. We’ve got a lot of film to look over. This is good though; we’ll take some of the negatives and turn them into positives this week in practice. That’s the best part about preseason. Weaknesses are revealed before the games actually count.
So, on one hand, it can be interesting to see a lot of these younger players who we normally wouldn’t see, and get a glimpse into the coach’s thinking process as he makes decisions. These are the guys he’ll call in should something happen to our starters – they are called our depth.
But on the other hand, watching a game full of people you don’t know in a game that doesn’t count … well, it can be boring.
As Coach Mike texted me,
The Broncos three best offensive weapons will not play tonight, neither will a single starter from the LOB. Preseason football, it’s like taking your sibling to the prom. Sure you have a date but you really don’t want to brag if you score.
Really nobody would watch preseason if soccer and baseball were not so boooooorrrrrrrring by comparison. 😐 go Hawks.
So, it’s not ALL about the rookies … It’s mostly about the money.
The concept of “exhibition games” or playing off-record for fans has a long history in football. But what really made its mark was the merger of the NFL and the AFL. See, the NFL used to be these two competing leagues (like in baseball). But in 1970, they merged. This was a big deal for a lot of reasons, but today, I’ll just mention the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
This Act is this thing in this country that prevents monopolies. You remember Social Studies class (or at least the board game), right? … One organization or company controls all of the financial interest in a commodity, trade, or service. Well, when the NFL became one company – the only thing to offer professional football …
The government exempted it from the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. It became a legal monopoly!
“It’s cool,” Uncle Sam said to the NFL. “Do what you want.”
And it did. And it does.
The first move was to require that all season-ticket holders purchase pre-season game tickets at full price or lose their regular season tickets. Fans were enraged, and over the years many have sued the NFL. No one has won.
“I thought you were a fan,” said Uncle Sam.
“I am! But this isn’t fair! They’re soaking me because I don’t have other options! This is a monopoly.”
“You could not be a fan. There! Now you have an option!”
The same continues to hold true: tickets are full price. Here in Seattle they continue to sell out, but in other cities it’s tougher going. Teams resort to gimmicks to sell their pre-season tickets, like Kids’ Day, Disco Night, or Bobblehead giveaways.
Coach Mike has an idea to fix pre-season:
You know what would make these pre season games worth while? Designate the gate from the game to local charities and when the starters leave early or just don’t play there could still be a meet and greet/autograph area where the proceeds go to the players choice of worthy cause. It would make for awesome PR, the league could benefit from the image help. Not like the billionaire owners would miss the gate $, they could probably get a tax break. And strengthens connection to the fans. I could totally justify paying regular season ticket prices for third rate football to go support a local cause in need of $$$ and my beloved team.
What do you think? How would you fix pre-season? Or does it need fixing at all?
Hugs and Loves!