Saturday, August 13, 2011

People Care Too Much About Pre-Season Football Results

One of the things that bothers me in the NFL preseason while I'm waiting for real football to start is the undue emphasis placed on preseason game wins/losses.

Theoretically, a team that does really well in preseason should have a good chance of an excellent NFL regular season, but it usually doesn't turn out that way.  There's a really good blog post from here that goes into more detail about this issue.

There are many examples of this in years past, but 2010 is typical.  Let's look at how certain teams did last year:

  • San Francisco 49ers: 4-0 in preseason; 6-10 in the regular season
  • St. Louis Rams: 3-1 in regular season; 7-9 in the regular season
  • New York Jets: 2-2 in preseason (including a 31-16 drubbing by the New York Giants in Week One); Regular season record was 10-6 and made it to the AFC Conference Championship
  • Chicago Bears:  0-4 in preseason, but managed to make it to the NFC Conference Championship after a 10-6 regular season and a NFC North Division Championship
Add to that the unrealistic expectations that go into a player's performance in preseason, and it can be a very confusing time for the casual football fan.  NFL teams are working on fundamentals, technique, timing, and game-speed. Defenses are simplified, and playbooks shortened to basic concepts.  No decent team is going to show their hand at what they're planning to do in the regular season.  

Enjoy watching some of the rookie quarterbacks who might not get a chance to play for a while, but don't place too much importance on how your team is doing in the preseason.  In the end, it just doesn't count for much.

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