As the hot days of August continue, it doesn’t feel quite like August due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, along with the restart of all major sports. With the NBA, NHL, and MLB in the middle of their restarted seasons, most sports fans don’t seem as motivated as they usually are about NFL training camps being in full go. If everything was normal, most people would be in a frenzy over the second week of NFL preseason game coming up this weekend, but with no preseason games at all this year, August feels a little bit different.
The Hall of Fame Game is the unofficial start to the NFL season as it is the first preseason game to be played at the beginning of every year and played under the beautiful backdrop of the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The game, which celebrates the new members being inducted in the NFL Hall of Fame, is a rating giant as millions of NFL fans tune in to see live football. It doesn’t matter that no starters from either team play at all as fans will watch second, third, and fourth string players play all night just because they love to watch football.
The excitement of the Hall of Fame game energizes fans of every team as they will wait with anticipation for the kickoff to their team’s first preseason game, which would have been last weekend. Whether it is to finally see a new offseason acquisition or a newly drafted rookie, team supporters will watch to see what the new player looks like in the uniform and to see how said player impresses in their unofficial debut. The other significant aspect of the first preseason game is the overt analyzation of starters during the time they are in the game. Chicago Bears fans are infamous for this as if the starting defense gives up a touchdown on their first drive, people will take to social media to voice their frustration over something that means nothing.
Another terrific aspect of NFL preseason is its value from giving us something to watch standpoint. Unlike during the regular season where games are played on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday, preseason games are being played Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. It gives not just NFL fans, but sports fans in general something to watch at any point of the weekend. Furthermore, fans of some cities are given a break from the baseball monotony, especially if their baseball team has no chance at making the playoffs in October. There is a good chance that the excitement that usually builds for the NFL season in August won’t be seen this year until the week leading up to the start of the season on September 10th.
Fantasy Football fans will be dealt a massive challenge this year with no preseason games as they will not be able to scout specific players to help fill out their roster. Every year, a player will impress during the preseason, and it will cause his stock to rise immensely, leading up to league drafts. Bears running back David Montgomery was the prime example from last season. This year, with no games for fans to scout, some players will not be drafted as high or at all without standing out in the four exhibition games leading up to the start of the season. Furthermore, fans will not be able to get hyped about how quarterback/receiver combos are building chemistry either.
It will be interesting also to see how sports gamblers and oddsmakers will be affected heading into the regular season with no preseason games. Super Bowl and playoff futures odds due tend to change in the preseason depending on how teams perform and whether or not valuable players stay healthy. With no live games to see how teams are ready for the season along with players’ health intact, chances are oddsmakers, and gamblers struggle in September due to no games in August to help provide more insight for the regular season.
Even the last week of the preseason provides value for fans because it often coincides with the start of the college football season and the start of Labor Day weekend. Avid loyalists of NFL teams will watch the final preseason game to see which player deserves a chance to make the regular-season roster. With all the games taking place Thursday night, fans will spend all weekend checking to see which players get cut as some will be infuriated when their team cuts a fan favorite to stood out during the second half of each preseason game. The last game will also provide added excitement as many realize that the next time their team takes the field, it will matter.
As much as the preseason is mocked and viewed as meaningless by analysts and fans, there is a lot of forgotten value provided to NFL consumers. This August will make everyone realize this difficulty when they partake in their fantasy football drafts, go-to place a wager, or try to get excited heading into the start of the regular season. For others, it may be that they are used to the tradition of seeing NFL football on in August and disappointed when there are no games on to watch. When the league kicks off on September 10th with the Texans and the Chiefs, NFL fans will be happy to see football on again but will feel weird without the traditional August buildup.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Sports Mockery, Inc.