It could be worse. Oh, my friends, it could be worse. Did you know that for most of the 1970s there were six — SIX — preseason games and just 14 regular season games, meaning that a full 30% of cheap jerseys action was in the form of meaningless summer scrimmages? So, first of all, count your blessings that we’re at four.
But, for years there’s been reasonable talk of reducing the preseason, something that would certainly resonate with fans who find August to be an interminable wait for the start of the regular season. But though I can barely stand to watch five minutes of preseason football and am certainly not an advocate of those games, I’m not all for ridding the league of them. Because, really, what’s the alternative?
The coaches and players aren’t particularly vocal on the issue, which leads me to believe they don’t mind it. A Peyton Manning or Tony Romo is always going to play a few series and show nothing to the opposition, while young draftees get a chance to show their potential. What’s the harm there? And it seems to me that just as many players get hurt in practice as they do in preseason games, so I throw that argument out too.
Now that teams are starting to price games differently (so you’re not paying a regular season price for a preseason game) there’s less complaint from fans too. And it’s not as if the league is going to change the start of the season from the Sunday after Labor Day, so it’s either go through August with teams merely practicing or go through August with four faux games that you can at least watch casually while dreaming of those brisk November Sundays when all that matters is football.
Thirty-two is the perfect number of teams in a sports league. Two conferences of four divisions with four teams each makes for symmetrical goodness. And while the cheap nfl jerseys playoffs have been fine since expanding to 12 in 1990, the league is hellbent on change, so there’s no use stepping in front of that freight train. Instead, it’s best to request minimal additions to the best playoffs in sport.
The common proposal is also the best: Bump up from 12 playoff teams to 14 — one for each conference. That makes a total of six wild-card games and leaves just one team per conference with a bye into the divisional playoffs. Play two WC games on Saturday, three games on Sunday (at the same times as the usual cheap jerseys china Sunday games) and have one on Monday night — alternating each year between the No. 4 vs. No. 5 game in each conference, a theoretical penalty for finishing last among conference champions, as no one wants to have that Monday-Sunday turnaround from the wild card to the divisional playoffs.
Though the expanded playoffs would occasionally be watered down with mediocre teams (the AFC’s third wild-card team would have had a 9-7 and 8-8 record the past two years, respectively), sometimes you’ll get a 10-6 Philadelphia Eagles team (as in 2014) or a 10-6 Arizona Cardinals team (as in 2013). Expanding keeps more teams alive for longer, extending interest in a couple of cities through Christmas while also making the fight for that coveted bye infinitely more fierce. Many times, the two top teams have little to play for in Weeks 16 and 17, having already clinched their byes into the divisional playoffs. In this new format, you could have meaningful games between the top teams until the final week. That means no sitting of the stars to rest up for the playoffs. It also could make the most compelling story on the final Sunday of the season not the battle for the last wild card or two 7-8 teams fighting for a division title, but the best teams in the league fighting for the right to rest the following week.
Since the cheap nfl jerseys china seems to be everyone’s favorite league to follow, it would stand to reason that its hot stove league would be tops too. Except it’s not, because it’s about as hard to follow as the plot of the first Mission Impossible movie. Contracts might as well be written in Aramaic. Big trades happen about as often as a passing of Halley’s Comet. And for all the information there is about the cheap jerseys from china online, it’s almost impossible to find legitimate data on what each players’ cap hit is every year. Whereas baseball’s salary structure is as cut and dry as it gets (player X signs deal with team Y for Z amount of years) and basketball is fairly easy to follow (though there are the occasionally complicated mid-level exceptions and Bird rights), the only fun with the NFL is seeing where a player signs. The money has no meaning because the contracts aren’t guaranteed.
This leaves fans in the dark to talk hypotheticals about trades and cap numbers, which is what makes the hot stove so fun in other sports. It’s also unfair to players, especially in football, when careers are shorter, teams discard players like used napkins and players exit the sport at age 30 with bodies that have basically been getting into car accidents 16 Sundays a year for the previous eight years.
Why can’t the NFLPA do something about this shoddy treatment? What, is the union afraid of 1987, when the owners canceled one game during a strike then brought in replacement players for three others? That was a lifetime ago in terms of sports. The cheap nfl jerseys from china couldn’t even make it four weeks with replacement officials in 2012. Imagine the league trying to pull that nonsense with players today! The players have leverage. Use it.
The beauty of the NFL had always been its exclusivity: games on Sunday and Monday and that was it. Adding Thursday may have been good for the bottom line (as if the bottom line wasn’t good enough) but it threatens overexposure. The NFL used to be a “can’t miss” league. There was no game a true fan could skip. But by adding a Thursday night game that’s usually an uninteresting affair featuring at least one bad football team, the NFL has practically invited its die-hard fans to skip football.
In recent years, what had once been a robust NFL schedule on December Saturdays (after college football season ended) has dwindled to a few games. This year, the NFL has just two, both at night when most people like to go out and, you know, do something. (Again — this is the NFL basically imploring you to skip games.) Why not add some Saturday games? There’s literally nothing cluttering up the sports landscape on December Saturdays, so the NFL could own the day with a few network matchups — network being the key. A game on NFL Network might as well not be a game at all.
Why cede Christmas to the NBA? You know who doesn’t care about the NBA? Most people! A regular old Monday Night Football game gets ratings only slightly worse than the NBA Finals. So why let a semi-popular sport get the holiday upper-hand on a massively popular one? Put a game at 5 p.m. ET on Christmas day, when most people are settling in for the night after a long day of present-opening or movie-attending, and watch the ratings roll in. There is a Christmas Eve game this year — part of the regular TNF schedule — but it’s Chargers vs. Raiders, which is like having Santa come down the chimney to punch you in the face.
Don’t get me wrong: I believe NBC’s Sunday Night Football is the best sports telecast on television, by miles and miles. It has the best games with the best announcing crew and the best production/direction. But don’t you sort of miss the days when Monday Night Football was king and you’d spend the first day of the work/school week waiting for the big game that night? Ever since ESPN got that package though, rare has been the big Monday night game, and if it has been, it’s been through sheer luck, usually between teams that don’t traditionally excite. So why not throw MNF a bone for the first few weeks (a Cowboys vs. Eagles here, a Broncos vs. Patriots there) and give NFL fans a break, because for as much as I love SNF, those days that start at 1 p.m. and end at midnight can get long. Then, once late-October rolls around, get back to making Sunday night king.
Whether the NFL did it purposefully or not, the move to making SNF the premiere package was brilliant. Before, fans were content to end their football-viewing days at 7:30 p.m. ET. Maybe they’d watch cable’s SNF game, maybe they wouldn’t. But now, SNF is a must-watch. And since MNF has a captive audience anyway, that broadcast still draws great ratings even though the games aren’t up to par.
This isn’t the NFL’s doing, it’s the media’s. So come on, everybody: Let’s collectively agree that the next time the Patriots are caught cheating, like, say, if Tom Brady texts an assistant equipment manager to instruct him to put Krazy Glue on Julian Edelman’s gloves, let’s not call it Gluegate. Surely we, as a society, can do better.