Fixing the preseason

Clark Judge of CBS picked 12 preseason games that might be worth watching. He happened to put 3 of the Colts 4 games on that list.
http://www.sportsline.com/nfl/story/10253571

The list is kind of bogus, as is the preseason itself, but it gives us the chance to comment on the biggest shaft job the NFL pulls. If you are a season ticket holder for most NFL teams, you are forced to pay for 10 games when you only get 8. That’s because of the 2 dreaded preseason games per team. It’s a chintzy way to add on an extra hundred bucks or so per seat (depending on which seats you have of course). Listen, preseason NFL games are horrible. Here’s what a normal preseason looks like:
Game one: Peyton and the boys play one series. Then Sorgi, Morehead, and backup linemen named Igor take over. This game tells you nothing at all about the quality of your team.

Game two: Peyton and the boys might play an entire quarter (if you are lucky). Some of the starters, especially younger ones might go till half time. Maybe, if you are an experienced tea leaf reader, you can get a vague concept of how the team might play. Maybe.

Game three: This is the one game you pray is at home so the extra $ you plopped down can get you a little return. Usually the starters play, drum-roll please, AN ENTIRE HALF OF FOOTBALL. One time I think I saw Peyton play a series in the 3rd quarter. Maybe.

Game four: This game is a game of special religious significance. You’ve probably never had the uplifting spiritual experience of 56,000 people all praying at once with one heart and mind. They are all asking their special deities-I think the naked dude who paints himself and his kid blue to sell checking accounts prays to the Touchdown Monkey-to please, please, please DON’T LET ANYONE GET HURT IN THE FIVE MINUTES OF ACTUAL GAME TIME THEY SEE. I’m a spiritual man, but Lord, I HATE game four. Nothing good ever happens in game four of the preseason.

So with apologies to Mr. Judge, there is NOTHING watchable about the preseason. What can be done about it? Here’s my suggestions:

1. Shorten the preseason to three games. This needs to happen. This won’t happen. If you extend the regular season by a game to replace the preseason game, you have to pay the players more. If you just lop off one game, the owners lose one game’s worth of gate. $ is king. This needs to happen. This won’t happen.

2. The Colts, like the Packers, need to not sell preseason tickets as part of the regular season ticket package. The Pack sells out every seat no matter what. They don’t force fleece the season ticket holders to purchase preseason games because there are enough people waiting to see the games. The Colts have their own mini-nation now (we’ll see if it outlasts Peyton). Enough people want to see the boys in blue that season ticket holders should have the option to opt out of the preseason games. Give them first crack, but then let everyone else get a shot to see the boys. If you WILLINGLY pay to see the preseason because you can’t get a ticket the rest of the season, then cool. Otherwise you feel coerced.

3. Play preseason games in Bloomington, West Lafayette, or South Bend. Give the rest of the Indiana the chance to see the boys. Play a game in Louisville even. The Colts have a strong fan base running south of Indy due to Peyton. Firm it up. Play other places.

4. Monkeys. I’m not sure how to incorporate them, but most things are more entertaining when monkeys are involved.

5. Pregame autograph/photo time on the field-open the field to fans with kids under 12, for an hour 3 hours before the game. This would actually help sell concessions as then the fans are in the stadium with kids for like a million hours before hand. Baseball teams do this. Why can’t the NFL. Just do it before both preseason games as a thank you to the fans for paying full price to watch their stars for about 5 minutes.

6. Incorporate regional rivalries. HEY! They did this! I’m really glad to see the Bears, Lions, and Bengals on the preseason schedule. This should happen every year the Colts don’t play the NFC North.

I don’t think any of my several suggestions are all that likely to be done by the NFL. Actually, an increased involvement by monkeys probably has the best shot. So until it does, we’ll just have to hope that Clark Judge is right and the Colts games are watchable. It could always be worse…

We could be Jags fans.

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