Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy is the latest high-ranking league executive to find fault with the length of the NFL preseason. Murphy reported Monday that discussions have taken place that suggest shortening the four-game preseason.
However, Murphy also revealed that he doesn’t think this will happen anytime in the near future.
“I think with all the concern about player health and safety, it would be difficult to go from 16 regular-season games to 18,” Murphy said, per ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky. “One of the things that has kind of been looked at is, do we reduce the number of games overall (to) three preseason games and 16 regular-season games? But obviously there’s a loss of revenue that comes with that.”
Murphy pointed out that the last preseason game rarely includes many starters, but it does give teams the opportunity to review some of the younger players and make last-minute roster decisions.
Many years ago, the preseason was used to get out-of-shape players back into the their football bodies. But Murphy now notes:
“The way the players train in the offseason, the preseason games are just significantly different.”
This is true. Many players train hardcore in between OTAs, minicamp and training camp to maintain their elite level of physical fitness. Shortening the preseason would definitely cut down the injury risk of key players. Although when it comes to revenue, cutting out a week of the preseason would factor in.
The past couple of years saw changes in the Pro Bowl format and the PAT’s. It’s likely the tweaking of the preseason will remain a topic of discussion that carries on beyond the 2015 season.