Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray apparently agrees with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who began the process of shortening the preseason in 2019. Murray, who is one of the league’s bright young stars, doesn’t like the preseason very much.
It’s tough to blame him when the starting quarterbacks typically don’t play very much in the preseason.
Kyler Murray doesn’t like the preseason very much
Murray said on Tuesday that he preferred last year’s process, which eliminated the preseason due to COVID-19, compared to the typical preseason schedule.
“Oh, I loved last year,” Murray said, according to Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic. “You practice every day hard against your team and then you come out of the gates running. That’s how it is in college. Obviously, this is the NFL, but I liked the way it was set up [in 2020].”
“It’s not real. I see it as like, go out and play well, but it’s not real. You play bad, you’ve got a bad taste in your mouth. It’s reps, it’s live reps, so you take something away from it. But at the end of the day, this doesn’t count. I’m not very fond of it. I like going hard in practice and then on Sunday, let the chips fall where they may. The preseason, like I said, it doesn’t count.”
Murray, as the unquestioned starting quarterback, likely doesn’t see the value in preseason games. Go ahead and ask the guy fighting for a roster spot what he thinks, though.
Roger Goodell has been advocating for a shortened preseason for a couple years
In 2019, Goodell mentioned that everything the NFL does should be high quality, and added “I’m not sure preseason games meet that level right now,” according to John Wawrow of the Associated Press.
There’s no “I’m not sure” about it, Goodell. The NFL Preseason, while a vital part of competition, roster construction, personnel decisions, and conditioning, isn’t exactly a pillar of excellent on-field play.
If the stance is that any product that’s visible to the fans should be played at the highest level, then the preseason isn’t it.
The shortened preseason this year is tied to an expanded schedule
On March 30, the NFL owners approved an expanded schedule that added a 17th regular season game for each team. It was also agreed to by the NFL Players Association in the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” Goodell said in a statement, according to NFL.com. “The CBA with the players and the recently completed media agreements provide the foundation for us to enhance the quality of the NFL experience for our fans. And one of the benefits of each team playing 17 regular-season games is the ability for us to continue to grow our game around the world.”
Instead of starting the regular season a week earlier, the league responded by shortening the preseason from four to three games.
Expanding the schedule was met with some pushback by players, including New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara. “S— dumb… as hell,” Kamara tweeted.
Essentially, there’s no pleasing everybody. Depending on the different levels of job security, preseason games are vitally important opportunities to make plays to secure a roster spot. For the Kyler Murrays and Alvin Kamaras of the world, however, they’re an opportunity to practice their sideline cheering abilities — and not much else.