Complaining about the length of the NFL preseason may be as much of a summer tradition as hot dogs, swimming pools, and the 4th of July combined. League commissioner Roger Goodell just might agree with the growing consternation.
Speaking with Alex Weprin of The Hollywood Reporter, Goodell confirmed rumors that the league is looking to cut down on the current quartet of August exhibitions.
"I am not a fan of our preseason," Goodell said. "I don’t think four preseason games is necessary." Regarding the NFL's continuing collective bargaining agreement talks with the players' association, Goodell also remarked that an expanded schedule and postseason are "on the table."
Each of the NFL's 32 teams has played four preseason games a year, a number that has been very common since 1978. Some teams played additional games with the league at an uneven 31 teams prior to the Houston Texans' arrival in 2002. Participants in the annual Hall of Fame Game play an additional exhibition. The preseason has been routinely criticized by players and fans alike. Players detest the risk for injury in meaningless contests, while fans have complained about paying full, regular-season prices for games dominated by substitutes.
The current CBA is set to expire in 2020. The biggest rumored changes are the addition of a 17th regular season game for each team, which, more than likely, would take place a neutral site. Postseason expansion has likewise been toyed with, a move that would extend the field beyond the current dozen.