NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is now on record saying he wants a 17- or 18-game regular season. Goodell has come around on a topic that has plagued me for years -- it's just ridiculous to have 4 preseason games. That's too many -- two would be a gracious plenty. (The earliest the regular season could be changed is 2011 due to various labor agreements).
The preseason games are a waste of money for fans (who are charged regular-season prices) and everyone knows it. In recent years, most teams have not played their stars at all in the final preseason game, and not very much in the first 3, either.
Which brings me to the fact the Panthers do at least have a fine first preseason game this year -- Monday, Aug.17 at 8 p.m. on ESPN against the New York Giants.
The game will be nationally televised and a rematch of the wonderful game the 2 teams played last December. Remember that one? The Panthers had a chance to win on the final play of regulation, but John Kasay missed a 50-yard FG in a swirling wind. The Giants then drove for the deciding TD in overtime to win, 34-28.
The Panthers' 2009 schedule hasn't been released yet. The NFL always releases the full schedule sometime in April -- usually in early April, but after the Final Four and before the NFL draft. I expect this to be only the first of several national telecasts for the Panthers this season -- that's what you get when you go 12-5.
6 months ago