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Wed, August 26, 2015

Preseason football not a cut and dry issue

The topic of preseason football and whether its existence is warranted has once again become a fashionable topic amongst sports fans. Is the reward worth the risk? Should starters be participating in meaningless games? These are all questions that have been asked countless times over the last week, most recently spurred by the Jordy Nelson injury. The fact of the matter is, this is a far more complex topic than meets the eye. Yes, there is the financial element as NFL owners would undoubtedly never agree to shortening the preseason without an alternative plan for making up lost revenue. There's also a competitive side. Consider the new collective bargaining agreement, which went into effect in 2011, only allows for so many practices throughout training camp. Subsequently, we've seen the elimination of two-a-days as well a significant increase in the number of days off. How is a team such as the Packers -- which prides itself on drafting and developing young talent -- expected to take an adequate look at their personnel with so few opportunities. The preseason games help to satisfy that need. Sure, the question of whether the first team should participate remains, but based on the small sample size of players we've heard from on this issue, opinions vary on the worth of such games. Finally, there is a contingent of fans who likely will never have the opportunity to attend a regular season game, instead opting to purchase tickets to attend a pre-season game. It's just one more opportunity for fans to flock to the stadiums they love -- in our case, Lambeau Field -- and soak up the atmosphere. That said, if starters don't participate in these games, these fans will be left watch the second and third stringers compete for roster spots. Many will say there's nothing wrong with that ... but some will disagree. So while preseason football may seem like more of a nuisance than any sort of worthwhile endeavor, we must attempt to see this from another perspective and realize there's more than meets the eye.

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