NFL Exhibition Games are the Worst
It's only a few more weeks until the commencement of one of the biggest gyps in all of sports. The beginning of football's preseason also marks the beginning of a bunch of guys you've never heard of wearing numbers that no one ever wears playing a game that they will not be playing come Fall. It also means that season ticket holders everywhere get to pay full price for tickets to games that no one, and I mean no one, wants to see. Seriously, you have a better chance of convincing someone to take a raging case of herpes than you do to sell them, or even give away for free, a pair of ducats to the August 17th grudge match between the Bills and Vikings. Yes, I said it, exhibition football games are like herpes.
What the hell does "exhibition game" mean anyway? Is there anything in these contests that is even worth exhibiting? Look, I like fourth string-quarterbacks and third-string kickers as much as the next guy but I wouldn't pay to see them. And those final battles to make the special teams squad are real nailbiters, but only if you're the guy competing for the spot. How the NFL gets away with charging full price for these games is absolutely criminal. You might as well tell your loyal season ticket holders to go ahead and throw several hundred dollars out their windows every summer.
It would be one thing if genuine stars and other full-time starters actually got some meaningful playing time, but they don't. It would be another if coaches actually trotted out some new plays and gimmicks, but they don't. Both players and plays are closely guarded for the games that actually count. What you're left with are three-plus quarters of guys with names like Michaelangelo Flatts and DigDug Barnes running around the gridiron like a bunch of third graders on a filed trip with ball bouncing off of, and sailing through, their hands. Look at it from another perspective. Say these games were instead a Broadway Show. If you bought tickets to the show and then were informed that none of the leads would be in it and that a lot of the scenes and numbers had to be significantly simplified, would you want your money back? Of course you would, and they would gladly offer you that option. But not the NFL.
The players show up for these games because they are required to. The announcers show up because they're getting paid. The fans don't show up because they know it's a scam. The teams get their money anyway. Why bother fighting traffic and paying exhorbitant concessions prices when you can do something a little more fun that won't cost you any more of your hard-earned money. There was a time when paying for these games was the ticket holder's choice. There also was a time when the price of these games was lower than the regular season price. That was, and still is, the right thing to do. So, of course, it will never happen. Anyway, enjoy the games. Wake me when the regular season starts.