Monday, March 30, 2009

A little NFL preseason pop for Panthers

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.


Anonymous said...

I've been saying for forever that the NFL should have 2 practice games and 18 real games. Ignore the coaches who cry that the world will come to an end because they DESPARATELY NEED 4 games to finalize the roster. There used to be 6 preseason games and they adjusted to 4 just fine. They'll do the same with 2.

Scheduling would be a breeze with 18 games. Play your division foes home-and home and all the teams in 1 division in the opposite conference, just like today. For the remaining 8 games, you play all the teams in 2 of the other 3 divisions in your conference. For example, the Panthers could play the NFC North and East one year, then the East and West the next year, then the North and West the third year. Then you cycle back to the North and East, and keep rotating.

I would love this, because everyone in each division would play the same schedule - no more advantages like the Saints will have this year, getting to play Detroit and St. Louis while the Panthers have to play Minnesota and Arizona.

Michael said...

J, you might be saying that the league will be fine with only two preseason games, but I doubt guys 50-58 on the roster will feel very good about it. Two games instead of four means a muscle strain could cost a guy a roster spot and the hundreds of thousands that come with it.

And the flexible schedule affects only two games on the schedule and serves to bring the competitive balance up. Why do you think the playoff teams change so much every year?