Thursday, Aug. 8, marks the beginning of football — not real football, but football nonetheless.
The opening night has six games altogether, including the Super Bowl champion Ravens, AFC contender Broncos, Super Bowl runner-up 49ers and the always-interesting Seahawks.
But Thursday won’t just kick off preseason action. It’s also going to be the beginning of an evaluation period for the NFL, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has long talked about getting rid of some preseason games and increasing the regular-season slate, and he’s going to use the 2013 preseason to take a hard look at the way the league currently does business, Rapoport reports.
Goodell will watch the games “to see what can be improved in hopes of offering a better product in the future,” which is Goodell code for “more regular-season games.” The NFL has talked about cutting the number of preseason games from four to two (making 18 regular-season games) or going with a 16-and-2 or 17-and-3 combo. Goodell argues that fans don’t want to pay high prices for preseason games, which are often full of scrubs and backups, while players have hedged against having more games in the season.
This preseason, the NFL will look at the amount starters play and how fans respond as well as assessing the cost for preseason ticket prices. The cost can’t be lowered unless all teams jump in, which is the crux of most of this — any change to the schedule or structure would require a vote by NFL owners.
So, with the specter of a preseason shakeup coming sometime, check out this year’s preseason schedule.