Monday, August 25, 2008

Raiders Lose Two to the "Un-season"

By Rick Richardson

Is there anything more outdated and meaningless than a four game pre-season? It might have been perfect when players were working in car lots to support themselves during the off time, but this isn’t your grandpa’s NFL. With voluntary workouts (yeah right), mandatory workouts, mini camps, training camps, and numerous organized team activities (ota’s), the moribund “exhibitions” begin to look like ancient artifacts, only held onto to shake a little more cash out of the money tree.

The season ending injuries to Drew Carter and Oren Oneal, amplify the need to reduce the unneeded risk of four extra games. The argument can be made for putting players in game situations, but at the NFL level that can be done in practice scrimmages. Coaches are reminded by the league office that these games are viewed by paying customers and feel pressured to play obvious starters needlessly risking injury.

Cutting the glorified scrimmages down to three games would be a start, but why not go ahead and slice it in half. The pre-season is a decent tool for coaches to get a look at talent, but one could argue that every practice up until that point is a better one. Ever wonder why you see a player tearing up the field in a Friday night yawner, only to see his name on the “see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya” list the next day? It is because the coach has witnessed everything he needs to see, and a fourth game full of scrubs doesn’t erase the dropsies in practice.

The NFL needs to follow Roger Goodell’s lead and work on putting this antiquated tradition into the annals of history.