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League Considering Dropping Fourth Preseason Game

Graham Harrell fumbles in Packers preseason opener

The fourth preseason game, where only guys who aren’t making the roster and special teamers get action.

Alright, maybe it’s not that bad, but the fourth preseason game on anyone’s schedule is always a throwaway. Teams simply don’t want their starters getting injured in a meaningless game a week before the real contests start.

Well, the league is talking about doing away with that game.

“I think there would be support for three,” Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy, who’s on the NFL’s competition committee, said. “I think Mike’s [idea], that’s what we’ve talked about. Rather than playing that fourth game on a Thursday … don’t play a fourth game and then you’d have an extra week. We’ve looked at different models, but I think that’s the one that makes the most sense.”

The idea that Murphy references is one endorsed by Packers coach Mike McCarthy. Three preseason games with two weeks of preparation time before week one of the regular season.

The positives are one less week of garbage football and one less chance for someone to get injured. The negatives are less money for the league, one less game to see marginal guys in action and one less game for one of those marginal guys to make a team.

In the grand scheme of things, we’re not sure we really care.

But let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment.

We all know guys who don’t normally get any game time end up making teams on the basis of a strong showing in that final preseason game. Not just that, of course, but it can be a difference maker.

It’s going to be harder for us to make a case for the Chris Banjos, Myles Whites and Jumal Rolles of the world to make the team without that fourth game.

And that’s really the only fun part of the preseason to begin with, isn’t it?

Joseph Bonham

Joseph is a fiction writer when he isn't doing this. In his spare time he likes to do manly things like drink beer and procreate.



  1. TyKo Steamboat February 26, 2016

    I would also like to see 18 weeks instead of 17 with 2 BYE weeks. Everyone will win.
    Fresher players & more revenue for the league

  2. g February 26, 2016

    They still need 53 players regardless..how would it be harder for someone to make the team? Someone has to make the team

  3. Howard February 26, 2016

    Probably already have determined at least 51 of the 53. The bigger effect may be on evaluating players who are cut that could be pursued for practice squads. Probably be more odd injuries that occur in practice during that last week prior to final cuts, causing players with future potential to be placed on season ending IR.

  4. RUPackFan February 27, 2016

    It’s all up to the coaches her. Although on the schedule it would be cutting out the game with the most young players evaluation, I’m sure most would actually keep their time at a maximum, while reducing the playing time that the starters see.
    Most of the vets don’t need much more than one drive just to get them back into game mode. Three quarters at each of three games to evaluate the underdogs seems like enough.