When something means nothing and nothing means something: The NFL’s final pre-season games

I tuned in to the first few minutes of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ final pre-season game against the Washington Redskins last week.  Even though the Rays, who were playing at the same time, had much more on the line, and were playing in a game that actually mattered, it’s still the National Football League.  I had to take a look.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the amount of empty seats at FedEx Field.  Sure, the following day’s box score showed 56,000 in attendance but since when is that an accurate depiction of how many people actually passed through the turnstiles?  I found the echoes that scattered the stadium rather ironic considering I live in a town that is consistently criticized for its lack of attendance to sporting events.

The fourth and final game of the NFL pre-season means little to most, hence the unoccupied seats not only at FedEx, but likely at every other stadium around the country that hosted a final pre-season game.  These games don’t count in the record books.  They are never watched, with good reason.  The biggest names don’t play for fear of injury.  In fact, other than the coaches, nobody of any import seems to care at all, as seen by some of the final pre-season scores.  Redskins 30-Buccaneers 3; Giants 6-Patriots 3; Titans 10-Saints 6.  No Freeman, no Manning, no Brady, no RGIII, basically no player any fan would pay good money to see, or even be able to pick out of a lineup for that matter.  These games are solely for coaches to narrow down their rosters to the required number of players before the season starts.  So why should we watch, pay full price for tickets, or better yet, why should they even play those games in the first place, which is a question the NFL is now asking itself.

The NFL’s final pre-season games are as un-watchable as an all-day Real Housewives marathon, yet they mean far more than we give them credit for, considering they hold the livelihood of so many at stake.  The games, that is, not the Housewives.  These are the real stories of the NFL.  Not the multi-million dollar quarterback with the supermodel wife.  It’s the rookie trying to prove he’s got what it takes to make the big time, the guy coming back from career-threatening injury, that high draft pick who’s still trying to live up to expectations, the veteran trying to make one last team one last time.  Unless their names are Chad Johnson or Terrell Owens, these are the tales that matter.  The NFL would do wise to promote these stories rather than its failed drug tests and official’s impasse.

As most of us know, every NFL team must ensure its roster is down to 53 players before the season starts.  That leaves a lot of players unhappy… and more importantly unemployed, dreams dashed as they desperately scramble for another team to earn a paycheck and perhaps a chance at fame.

These are names you’ve never heard of, players you don’t recognize and perhaps never will.  Who knows whether they’ll make a roster, or have to fall back on that education they allegedly got back in school.  Head coaches will stay in touch but that’s pretty much that.  There are no million dollar contracts, in fact, no paychecks at all, just the promise of that phone call, the desire to remain in shape so that one day, when that call comes, they’ll be ready.

And maybe then, we’ll be watching.


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16 Replies to “When something means nothing and nothing means something: The NFL’s final pre-season games”

  1. Pingback: When something means nothing and nothing means something: The NFL’s final pre-season games - BallHyped, NFL | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. The NFL Preseason proves the league doesn’t give a shit about fans. It would be like if McDonald’s charged you full price for a Big Mac with no meat.

  3. Dub…

    To use yet another fast food reference, eliminating the pre-season altogether would be like McDonald’s removing the McRib from its menu.

    It simply wouldn’t be missed.

    Now, would you like an apple pie with that?

  4. There’s no excuse (except for greed) that the teams should charge full price for pre season games. As matter of fact the fourth game should be free if you paid to see the first three. Even if the Bucs did that they probably still wouldn’t sell out.

  5. If the Bucs can’t even avoid blackouts of their preseason games, I still believe that Joe Redner should be allowed to provide the pre-game and half time entertainment . And that’s not just me saying that brother ! C’mon now , you know how we roll ! LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

    Bucs’ cuts (August) to their (Sept) final roster .

    Did you hear where the USC Trojans are once again under investigation by the NCAA ? This time for impermissible gifts to two players , one from the basketball team and one from the football team . Off course AD Pat Haden has things under control , it’s just that these players weren’t meant to be caught . LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

    Lane Kiffin is trying to run a “tight ship” , much like the captain of the Costa Concordia that sank in the Mediterranean killing over 30 of its victims . Kiffin is doing more to bring the Trojans’ program into disrepute by repeatedly skirting the rules . It was the same way, when he coached the UT Volunteers .

    USC will investigate report of gifts to athletes


  6. There’s greed in the NFL ? Who’s just now finding that out ? If the impasse between the refs and the league hierarchy is meant to be about the 401K’s of the officials , then what does that tell you about the NFL , as a whole ?

    Tophatal …………..

  7. Greed ? Greed is good according to Gordon Gekko . And who am I to question that character ? Oh crap , here comes Bernie Madoff and Jack Abramoff . Now that’s greed ……………… wouldn’t you say ?

    Clemens has lifetime earnings of over $150 million but he still doesn’t know when to call it quits .

    Common sense and greed ? It ain’t happening bro’ !

    Look at the two dumb as#es who preside over the well being on behalf of the federal government ?

    Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner , please tell me that their combined IQ at least surpasses that of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton , at least ?

    Hit me with your best shot

    Dropped this on tonight’s game between the Cowboys and Giants .

    Come hard, don’t come soft, better yet, just take your broke ass home !

    Tophatal ……………

  8. Lane Kiffin , the walking moron that he is , simply doesn’t wish to acknowledge his pernicious problems , nor his wish to be held accountable when he screws up . At the same time , USC’s Compliance Officer or AD Pat Haden have to be damn well near being anally retentive , in not overseeing the coach’s actions , given his propensity for bending the rules at each and every god_d##n turn .

  9. Chris

    The NFL is so full of itself ! Consider the following , they donate $30 million to neurological research , with regard to traumatic brain injuries . While at the same time their chief legal counsel Jeff Pash , seeks to have the more than 30 cases … involving over 3,000 current and former players thrown out of US Federal Court . Yet, the $1 billion set aside in their recent collective bargaining agreement with the union (NFLPA) to aid the retired veterans , has yet to be disbursed at any significant level to assist these players . Kinds of reminds me what I’ve found when trying to deal with the state and VA concerning in trying to obtain benefits for military vets that have seemingly been thrown to wayside by not only the country at large but by state federal government .

    All of this lame a#s talk by fans and the analysts that the NFL has made significant steps is simply a crock of s#it , and those who can’t see that , are simply too dumb to realize that .

    Come hard, don’t come soft, better yet, just take your broke ass home !

    Tophatal ………….

  10. The players have to get conditioned… The coaches need to evaluate the players… The players bitch about the work… The players bitch about the coaches… The players bitch about the money… The owners bitch cause they want more money too… The preseason conditions the players… The preseason helps the coaches evaluate the players… The players hold out for more money… The owners get more money from the preseason games… And so it goes…

  11. Al…

    I can’t blame Clemens for trying to make a comeback, which isn’t actually what I think he’s trying to do. I don’t think he thinks he can pitch in the majors again but if he wants to keep pitching, let him do so. I just think it’s funny he’s playing for a team called the Skeeters.

    I’m gonna wait to see what happens to USC. I mean, aren’t they pretty much always in trouble regardless of who their coach is?

    I agree with you wholeheartedly on the NFL. We might not be able to see the long-term effects of the decisions being made now but they probably shouldn’t just assume their sport will be number one for all eternity. It’s not like it’s always been that way.

    Two out of three against the Yanks ain’t bad, Al, but I agree with you, last night was a winnable game and one they should have had.

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