NFL: Exhibitions just don’t work
Remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine and her boss pick up the Russian writer, and Elaine starts talking about Tolstoy, and how he really wanted to call War & Peace something different? War: What Is It Good For?
I’ve thought of that several times in the last couple of weeks, trying to watch NFL exhibition games. Exhibition games: What are they good for?
They fill team coffers and they risk players’ health. That’s what they’re good for. We were reminded of that Monday night when another player, Giant cornerback Terrell Thomas, suffered a torn ACL in his knee and almost surely will be lost for the season.
By early in the fourth quarter of the Giants’ 41-13 rout of the Bears, new Meadowlands stadium was virtually empty. NFL exhibitions generally have a buzz for about eight minutes. Then reality sets in.
It’s sort of like going back to the same restaurant that keeps disappointing you over and over. Or keep flipping on The Office without Steve Carell, hoping against hope that it will get funny again.
The NFL exhibition season is not fixable. This is a violent, brutal sport, and unless the games count, there’s no reason for them to be played.
Four exhibitions is way too many. Of course, the owners wanted to solve the problem by going to an 18-game regular season, with just two exhibitions. The players, correctly, balked. The owners want to keep the total number of games at 20, so each team gets 10 home games in its season-ticket package. Yes, it’s borderline criminal to include exhibitions in season-ticket packages, but until the fans revolt, they’re stuck with it.
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