The NFL has had an advantage when it comes to their preparation of the season during the coronavirus pandemic. Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed his confidence from day one that he fully expects the season to go on without a hitch.
But then, the hitch showed up in the form of a spike in new COVID-19 cases across the United States in recent weeks. Even though the league said that training camp will go on as planned on July 28, Pro Football Talk reported that the NFL preseason has officially been cut in half from four games to two.
We're going to say it right now: a two-game preseason should've happened years ago.
Four games in the preseason was always too much to begin with. Considering football is a hard-hitting and physically-demanding sport, you'd think that the 32 team owners would've wanted the preseason cut in half a long time ago. Why? To secure the health of their most talented players, specifically those under contract for huge amounts of money.
How many times have we seen NFL teams enter panic mode after their star player suffers a serious injury in meaningless football games? The answer: too many.
Former Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis tore his ACL in 2001, and forced him to miss the 2001 season, where the team was hoping to repeat as Super Bowl champions. In 2003, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick broke his fibula in preseason action, forcing him to miss 11 regular season games and thus limited the team's chances of living up to their lofty expectations. How about Tony Romo, who suffered a career-ending back injury in preseason action against the Seattle Seahawks in 2016?
Those are just three of the many devastating injuries suffered in summer action. It only takes one wrong step or one bad landing for a player to be put on the injured reserve, and for owners to see their huge financial investments blow up in their faces.
It shouldn't have taken a global pandemic to cut the preseason in half. This decision should've been mandated decades ago.