It’s only preseason? Yeah, it’s only preseason—the Monday Morning Realist


Every Monday morning, Section 215’s Akiem Bailum gives an in-depth and unfiltered look at all of the latest sports news in The Monday Morning Realist. You can follow Akiem on Twitter @AkiemBailum.

Aug 9, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; NFL shield logo on the 50 yard line before the game of the Carolina Panthers and the Chicago Bears at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Realists, I understand many of us are avid football fans and can’t wait to see our favorite teams back in uniforms, helmets, and pads on an NFL gridiron. Of course, I am an NFL fan too.

The date that I have circled on my calendar for the start of the 2014 NFL season is further in September, not in August.

But for some, that date is indeed in August.

I am checking my Twitter feed constantly because I am one who likes to keep up with the latest news, sports, radio stuff, and general debauchery altogether. But, it appears that whenever I check my Twitter or whenever I turn on ESPN or another sports channel, half of the talk is about the NFL preseason.

Huh, come again?

Even the Hall of Fame Game between the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills got a lot of attention on Twitter just for the fact that “football” had returned after a long absence that lasted…only six months.

So much for “Fear of Missing out on Football”. If one thinks six months is a long wait without men hitting other men on the field, can you imagine how fans of the Olympics, who only follow those certain sports every four years feels?

On the same day as the Giants vs. Bills preseason tilt in Canton on NBC, ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball was airing (what else?) a Yankees/Red Sox game. Someone tweeted if more people were watching preseason football than a baseball game where one of the teams involved (New York) was in the midst of a Wild Card chase.

That truly is one of life’s unsolved mysteries.

I continue to follow Twitter because, Realists, I have lived such a busy lifestyle nowadays that my television viewing has been reduced almost to nothing. I follow more of these games through Twitter hashtags and internet/satellite radio than I do via the idiot box nowadays.

Even Johnny Manziel’s first game as a Cleveland Browns quarterback was hyped up like he was about to start in the Super Bowl. The game aired on NFL Network and thanks to all of the ESPN/NFL Network-induced hype of the guy when he hasn’t even taken the field yet in a real game, was a ratings bonanza for the Network.

Basically, they said, “Well, our Tim Tebow experiment failed, so let’s try it again with someone else who also happens to be a pretty big party animal, too.”

The point that must be made is why can’t we treat these preseason games like they are, well, preseason games? MLB Spring Training does not get this much attention, unless you glue yourself in front of a television set that is stuck on MLB Network for the entire month of March. NHL’s does in Canada and then some. The NBA’s preseason is starting to borderline on the NFL’s in terms of unsubstantiated preseason hype.

It’s also why baseball can never garner substantial coverage to warrant the game as it gets closer and closer to the playoffs and World Series. Doug Gottlieb once made mention of this on his show on CBS Sports Radio and suggested that MLB should end its season in August so the World Series can get more attention.

This was a farce because he failed to look at how much of a media machine (his profession) the NFL has. MLB could end its season in August, the Yankees could be playing the Cubs in the World Series, and one touchdown pass via Johnny Football will receive a larger spot on SportsCenter’s A-block than if the Cubs were one game away from winning their first World Series in over a century.

There’s no doubt that the press, that makes money off of the NFL, is part of the thing that fuels our addiction to the gridiron. And it is indeed that. Not only is there too much football coverage on television in August, but there are too many preseason games to begin with.

As much as the NFL wants to fantasize about its 18-game regular season fetish, they say that an 18-game regular season will be what cuts the preseason from four games to two games.

This of course ruins their player safety argument since most of the preseason snooze-fests only feature second and third stringers that are trying to make teams. And many of them have a chance to get substantial playing time given how many injury bugs there are around the NFL since it is such a violent sport.

The owners want to basically substitute two preseason games for two regular season games that count (in addition to a possible expansion of the playoffs that only means more money for these owners) instead of just doing the sensible thing and getting rid of two preseason games with no strings attached.

This has probably happened to all of us, Realists. We watch commercials on television because the purveyors of those ads (the companies and the channels they air on) want us to buy something. We consider it, but when there is an overload of ads, it actually makes us want to buy that product less.

Preseason football is pigskin overload. Less is more, Commissioner Goodell—less preseason and less football as a whole. Wake me when September begins.