On Sunday, Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson went down with a torn ACL in a preseason game against the Steelers. Nelson was an integral part of the Packers offense last season and one of quarterback Aaron Rogers’ favorite targets, but now he’s gone for the entire year because of an injury that happened in an exhibition game.
Unsurprisingly, Rodgers was pretty ticked off about it when speaking to the media after the game saying, “It’s difficult to lose a guy like that in a meaningless game.” Rodgers told reporters he believes he can prepare for a regular-season game without the preseason, and that he thinks the solution may be to eliminate it altogether, telling reporters when asked if he wanted the preseason gone:
“I think a lot of players around the league probably do. At least cut it down, maybe, to a couple.”
But Rodgers knows that even though it may be a benefit to the players to reduce or eliminate the preseason, (perhaps two games with only backups playing is the answer), it’s about more than just that. “A lot would have to happen,” Rodgers said. “The fans, I think, are paying close to full-price tickets. It’s not just the coaches’ and the players’ decision.”
That’s where the issue lies. We all know that the NFL is not wont to turn down that kind of cash, and if fans are willing to pay premium ticket prices for preseason games (why they are willing to do that is beyond me), than the NFL is not going to be in any hurry to reduce the number of games played.
Nelson was not the first player to go down this preseason. Most significantly, the Carolina Panthers offensive attack was hugely dependent on wideout Kelvin Benjamin, who also suffered a season-ending torn ACL.