When the Lions run onto Ford Field on Saturday, football fans will begin the annual rite of reading too much into games that have little bearing on the road to the Super Bowl. Following a year where we chronicled each week’s march to futility, hope is unusually high this preseason with Matt Millen no longer fronting the Lions and a rookie QB potentially at the helm. This team got 15,000-plus to find their way to Ford Field during this past weekend’s monsoon and there is a good chance that some of the early games will have some large crowds. No matter who gets the initial snaps for the team on Saturday, the fans may potentially tune this team out if they start out with some big losses.
The NFL Preseason is what we thought it was – four games of fans trying to get pumped for the upcoming season while watching a group of college standouts fighting for reserve roles. With injuries the difference between playoff teams and high draft picks, it would benefit the NFL from reducing preseason games in lieu of a longer regular season. Sadly, I think it would take multiple major stars to go down with significant injuires before the owners got together to attempt a change to the current rules. If the regular season were increased by a game or two, interest in these converted games would astronomically increase along with the revenues coming in for these games.
The Lions also happen to come into these exhibition games with a winning streak stretching back to last season. Detroit’s 4-0 record in the 2008 preseason added to the unbelievable situation that an 0-16 regular season would follow. If these games truly do not matter as shown, why should teams risk injuries with their superstars? For those of you who happen to crave the preseason, here’s the Detroit Lions 2009 schedule:
8/15 v. Atlanta, 8/22 @Cleveland, 8/29 v. Indianapolis, 9/3 @Buffalo