The NFL Preseason has come and gone. Finally, after long last, the next pro football game played will count. The season kicks off on Thursday, September 7th, with the Super Bowl Champion Chiefs hosting the Detroit Lions.
However, it’s worth asking a very simple question: is the NFL Preseason worth it? Do the games matter? It seems like this question is asked every single year. This is because every year, while there’s some excitement around seeing football be back and to see promising new rookies in action, injuries risk derailing a season before it even begins. Surely, every single Jets fan was holding their breath when Aaron Rodgers stepped onto the field last weekend.
As importantly, there’s a legitimate question as to whether or not players need these games to get ready for the regular season. When the Rams went to the Super Bowl in 2018, the Rams didn’t play a single starter in the preseason, and they started 8-0 that year. In fact, many teams to this day consider September as part of an extended preseason of sorts. Today, many teams will not play their veteran players or their starters. The Panthers, Texans, and Colts all played their new franchise QBs in the preseason this year. However, other teams, like the Rams again, Eagles, and Cowboys didn’t play their star QBs. It stands to reason that guys like Jalen Hurts and Dak Prescott don’t need reps against mostly backup players, and the risk isn’t worth the reward. However, other teams with veteran QBs did play their QBs. Patrick Mahomes and Derek Carr both logged reps in the preseason. Clearly, most people would say neither QB needed to get any reps to actually be ready for the season, but Andy Reid and Dennis Allen deemed it necessary.
As we can see, different teams view the situation differently. There’s no right or wrong answer, but thankfully, we seemingly avoided injuries to marquee players this year. Only time will tell if the teams that played their starters will benefit more. Another important question is to ask how we can even determine if a team’s success is because of them playing starters in the preseason. All of these players get hours of practice in and spend even more hours studying film with teammates.
It doesn’t sound like we will be able to definitively answer this question anytime soon, but we’re sure ready for the real NFL season to begin!