Four Downs – August 7th: It’s time to shorten the NFL’s preseason

I had a great time co-hosting “The Saturday Morning Tailgate” with Jeff Dean talking two hours of college football and an hour of NFL this past weekend. Jeff is a true pro, a fellow UofA grad, and even better, the public address voice of Arizona Basketball at McKale Center! If you’re looking for some (fairly) intelligent football talk, take a listen here (see the audio player at the bottom of the page).

FIRST DOWN: The NFL preseason is WAY too long.

Someone please tell me how or why it’s necessary that the Cardinals and Cowboys are scheduled to play FIVE preseason games. By virtue of both teams playing in the Hall of Fame Game last Thursday night, each team had another meaningless game added to their schedule.

And now the Cardinals are down their rookie speedster / likely #1 kick returner, T.J. Logan for half the season due to a dislocated wrist.

As I mentioned in Friday’s blog and on Saturday’s radio show, the second half of just about every preseason game is unwatchable. As someone who loves college football and will watch even the most meaningless of games, don’t compare Kansas-Iowa State to the 2nd half of Cardinals-Cowboys.

Outside of the Hall of Fame Game which is a novelty, why should fans pay full price (i.e. the same as they do for regular season tickets) to watch a MUCH poorer quality product?

Do NFL teams really need 4+ games to decide which players make the team? Can’t they just determine that during the significant practice time?

And then there’s the CTE risk. More hits = greater chance of concussions, etc.

So here’s my solution for the NFL: Open all training camps no earlier than August 10th. Play two preseason games, one home game and one away game for each team. Those games will be held Thursday through Saturday on the 3rd and 4th weeks of August. Then take a week off before the regular season.

But here’s another kicker to make up for some of the lost revenue from the meaningless preseason games: Keep the 16 game regular season schedule but add another bye week for each team. The league adds an extra week (i.e. Week 18) which means more TV games and more advertising revenue to be distributed to its teams. And the players get another week of rest during the grueling season.

I’d be very surprised if the players opposed this plan and I’m sure the owners could get on board sooner than later.

NFL: Pro Football Hall of Fame Game-Arizona Cardinals vs Dallas Cowboys
Sadly T.J. Logan will be among quite a few players who lose a chunk of their regular season due to injuries suffered in a way too long preseason.

SECOND DOWN: Jay Cutler signs in Miami – what are you thinking, Dolphins??

First of all, I’m super bummed that we won’t get to hear his broadcasting analysis of the Bears-Falcons game in Week 1 on FOX. That would’ve been pure gold.

But Miami, seriously, what the heck are you doing? Jay Cutler has never and will never win anything of note in the NFL. At least Colin Kaepernick came extremely close to winning a Super Bowl with the 49ers in 2013.

Don’t get me wrong…I HATED that Kaepernick protested by taking a knee during the National Anthem last year. It was unpatriotic and just plain rude. But I’d still rather have him that Jay freakin’ Cutler!

Ryan Tannehill likely will have knee surgery and miss most of, if not likely all of the season. The Dolphins had to do something, as I said on Friday, because backup Matt Moore is the definition of a game manager. But to bring Cutler out of his brief retirement…not good.

Hey Dolphins fans…look on the bright side…it could’ve been worse


THIRD DOWN: The winner of this weekend’s PGA Championship will be…

I was all ready to write that Hideki Matsuyama would win at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, NC next weekend and capture his first major championship.

Then he won the WGC Bridgestone Invitational by shooting a 9 under par 61 (!!!!!) on Sunday. While I think the reigning two-time Phoenix Open winner is a good bet for the top five, he won’t be my top choice to win in back-to-back weeks.

Instead I’ll take a guy who, like Matsuyama, posted four under par rounds at the challenging Firestone Country Club this past weekend.

My pick this week is a horse-for-the-course. He owns the low-round all-time at Quail Hollow, has won twice there, and posted several other top 10 finishes.

Oh yeah, he’s also a two-time winner of The PGA Championship.

Unfortunately from a betting perspective, my selection is also the co-#1 choice with reigning British Open Champion Jordan Spieth at 7-1 odds.

Either way, RORY McILROY is my choice to take home his 3rd Wanamaker Trophy next Sunday.


FOURTH DOWN: Saying goodbye to a friend far too soon.

Some of you may remember Evan Cohen (no relation to me) from his time on Valley sports radio airwaves in the 2000s. If you listened to KDUS AM 1060 at some point in the last fifteen years, it’s likely that you heard his voice. He was sarcastic and funny yet as intelligent about sports as anyone I’ve known.

My first experience in Phoenix media was as an intern (2004) and later part-time producer (2005) at KDUS under the tutelage of program director Angel Velasquez, along with Evan, Mike Jurecki, and former NFL players Bill Lewis and Dale Hellestrae. I couldn’t have enjoyed the experience any more than I did…it was my favorite time in media throughout my career.

Another added bonus of working at KDUS was becoming friends with Evan. He and I would always shoot the breeze talking sports, about women, you name it. Over the years he and I competed in quite a few fantasy leagues together including my current fantasy baseball league. We would text fairly often and talk via phone every few weeks or so.

He was a reader of this blog and offered to write columns at some point. I wish I had the chance to work with him one more time.

Evan died last Friday at the age of 43. He may have battled some health problems in recent years but I certainly never expected this.

Damn it world. Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

At 43, he had much more to give.

Rest in peace my friend…you will be sorely missed.

Evan, Angel, and I at her birthday party in May 2015.



To read previous entries of my blog, click here. Also make sure to follow me on Twitter @eacohen83.


One thought on “Four Downs – August 7th: It’s time to shorten the NFL’s preseason

  1. Love the idea of less preseason games and that extra bye week. I just hope that the owners wouldn’t raise prices for tickets and concessions if they did that. Could say it was needed with 10% less home games even if the extra TV money makes up for most or all of it. And Red Zone would be little less fun with fewer games but would still be great.

    Cutler and Kaep ratings and stats wise are nearly the same the last few years. Gase is familiar and comfortable with Smokin’ Jay (one of the best websites ever) and less media attention than Kaep so I get it. Dont think it is a bad move at all on any end for the Dolphins. What isn’t being discussed is what is the price to get Kaep. Does he want too much money to be a likely back up or one year plug?

    I was also thinking Matsuyama but not after a win this weekend. Give me my boy Jason Day.

    Liked by 1 person

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