Like a politician giving the same speech at different rallies, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell keeps going from town to town stumping for a shorter preseason.
This time it was at a Colts luncheon hosted by owner Jim Irsay, where Goodell spoke alongside Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, Colts General Manager Chris Ballard, coach Chuck Pagano and others.
When asked about the possibility of shortening the preseason, Goodell said he keeps hearing from people that four games is at least one too many.
“From my standpoint, we actually just talked about it, coach, Tony and Chris, I’ve asked every football guy, ‘How many preseason games do we really need to prepare your team and develop players and evaluate players and get yourself ready for the season?” Goodell said, via Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. “And I think that has shifted dramatically in the last three years. I think that coaches and football people think that you could do this in three [games], and I actually think that’s better for the fans. I actually don’t think the preseason games are of the quality that I’m really proud of. From my standpoint, I think that would be a really healthy shift.”
So there you go. He’s doing it for the people. Clearly.
It’s at least the third time he’s brought it up this preseason, and it should be equally clear that owners aren’t eager to give away the revenue that 10th home date creates — even if some of them have started playing Three Card Monte by cutting preseason prices and making up for it elsewhere.
With owners used to 20 units of product with which to wring money out of their customers, and repeated references to three preseason games, it seems clear the ultimate goal is a 17th regular season game, which could become neutral site or international and satisfy several league objectives.