Last Updated on October 14, 2023 by Alex PT
Football has a preseason to prepare teams for the regular season. It allows players to condition, practice, and compete in non-league games to assess talent, refine strategies, and make roster decisions.
NFL Preseason: Do We Really Need It?
The NFL preseason has both supporters and critics, and whether it’s truly necessary depends on one’s perspective. Here are the arguments for and against the NFL preseason:
Arguments in Favor of the NFL Preseason:
- Player Evaluation: Preseason games provide an opportunity for teams to evaluate players, particularly rookies and undrafted free agents, in live game situations. This is crucial for making roster decisions and identifying talent.
- Roster Decisions: Preseason allows teams to make informed roster decisions, including cuts and additions, based on player performance. It helps in building the most competitive team for the regular season.
- Player Development: Preseason games are valuable for player development, allowing individuals to gain experience and adapt to the speed and intensity of NFL play.
- Team Chemistry: Preseason offers teams a chance to build chemistry, especially for new acquisitions or rookies who need to integrate into the existing roster.
- Fan Engagement: Preseason games provide football-starved fans an opportunity to see their favorite teams in action before the regular season begins, maintaining fan engagement.
Arguments Against the NFL Preseason:
- Injury Risk: Preseason games carry a risk of injuries to key players, potentially affecting a team’s performance in the regular season. Some argue that these games are not worth risking player health.
- Quality of Play: Preseason games often feature lower-quality play compared to the regular season, with starters playing limited snaps. Critics question the value of games that don’t showcase the best talent.
- Ticket Costs: Season ticket holders are required to purchase preseason tickets, which some view as an unnecessary expense for lower-quality games.
- Length of the Season: With the regular season and potential postseason games, the NFL season can be long and physically demanding. Critics argue that a shorter preseason would reduce wear and tear on players.
- Player Holdouts: Some star players choose to sit out preseason games to avoid injury or due to contract disputes, reducing the appeal of these games to fans.
What is Preseason?
The preseason is a time prior to the commencement of the regular season, during the team trains and players stay fit in anticipation of the season while playing friendlies and exhibition matches.
Technical Reasons For Preseason
The preseason helps the team to evaluate the fitness of players and the overall team. There are different types of fitness.
Physical fitness – After the off-season (a time for players to rest and vacate) players need a lot of physical training to take them back to their fitness level and most times lose excess weight gained during the holiday.
Match Fitness – The off-season comes with ripple effects such as players losing touch more or less. Friendly matches are organized to take players back to their performance level. These matches are not usually competitive and ensure a low injury rate (since nothing is at risk for either wins or losses).
Reevaluate the First Team/Squad
The preseason allows the team to reevaluate their team and look for fresh prospective players. Fortunately, the preseason always takes place at the same time as the summer transfer window. Scouts of each team harness this period to search for a young promising player of the junior league to take to the big league.
Help New Players to Sync with Team
This is probably the most important reason for preseasons, the preseason usually comes with the signing of new players either from junior leagues or a big star. After signing, those players would have to learn the play style of both the team, players, and coach. This usually takes time but the preseason provides that time. Since the preseason comes with a lot of exhibition matches and local and international friendlies, new players use this period to sync with the players of the new team for maximum performance on match day when the season really commences. New players have attested that preseason has helped them create harmony with team and teammates, such as getting along with players and building and maintaining understanding among the squad.
Two importance of Preseason
The preseason is very important for two sets of individuals.
The preseason is very important for firstly the coaches but it provides a general overview of the players, their fitness, and performance level for the previous season. The coaches have a rare opportunity to see those players who were injured the previous season (and those still injured). The coach then decides if their fitness or performance is questioned if they should be loaned, need special training to return them to their prior performance level or need physiotherapy to help them return to fitness level.
The coach also has a feel for new players who have passed the team’s academy and joined the junior team. The coach gets to see what they stand to offer, and the coach selects a special player or two to take to the major league.
Coaches also use the preseason to create new tactics or revamp previous tactics and teach the play style to players. Most time the coaches spend ample time with midfielders and strikers teaching them superior play styles for better performance in the new season.
Secondly, the preseason is very important to players.
Preseason gives players the chance to show off to coaches that they have what it takes to make the first startup line. If players don’t perform great at preseasons their chances of getting selected for the first startup is slim (and all players want to be part of the starting lineup).
Players are aware that coaches might have preferred players but no slot is ever reserved the one earned through discipline and hard work. Little wonder, players bring their A-game on preseason while training hard, staying fit, and doing exceptional at exhibition or friendlies to secure a spot on the first lineup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do pre-season goals count in exhibition matches?
No, they don’t. But players who score most on most preseason matches are usually selected to play in the regular season with hopes that they can replicate that performance but this time at a bigger stage where it all matters.
Why must footballers have a pre-season?
For fitness purposes. The off-season is a time when players rest and vacate and most times players get overweight and lose form. The preseason ensures that players are fit and in the best performance rate during the season.
Were there preseason match in 2020?
The NFL did not host a preseason game in 2020 for the obvious reason, COVID-19. But after that year and the pandemic statistics plummeting, the NFL rescheduled preseason matches for the forthcoming season.
The preseason is the most important part of a club’s preparation for the new season. If done right, the team might just start the season with top-shelf performance and increase their chances of being crowned champions.
The preseason is important for coaches and players alike. Coaches get the chance to access the squad and make a concise decision on which player would make the starting lineup. More so, coaches use this period to create new or revamp tactics for better performance on match day.
Players use the preseason to stay fit and get back to performance level and new players use these periods to get familiar with teammates and play style.