NFL Preseason: The Unofficial Start & Why You Should Care

My favorite time of year, thumb football season, for sale has unofficially begun. NFL preseason to be specific. The Bears open their preseason tonight on the road against the Carolina Panthers and will play a total of four ‘exhibition games’ before they open their season at home on September 8th against the Bengals.

Love it or hate it, sales preseason does have its benefits. Just don’t tell that to the regular season ticket holders.

Preseason works a little differently than the regular season. It’s all about making the team rather than winning.

Preseason games are played to determine which of the 90 hopeful players will make the final 53 man roster. The four games are critical for rookies and questionable players to get quality playing time in order to guarantee their spot on the final roster that is set once preseason has wrapped and before the first regular season game.  This year that key date is August 31st.

Veteran players and contracted players get very little playing time during preseason and usually only play the first quarter or less in order to avoid injury. The team is less worried about the score and more about the individual performance of each player on the field. Season ending injuries during the preseason continue to plague the league and the Bears just this week lost defensive back Kelvin Hayden from a torn hamstring.

But it’s still football, right? I’m still a fan of it, no matter what people say. After the summer stalemate without football, having a few snaps of the Cutler-Marshall match made in heaven will do the trick for a few more weeks.

For us Bears fans, it will be especially interesting to watch these first few weeks. With the arrival of a new head coach in Marc Trestman, it’s important to be watching and noting the implementation of the a new offense. Plus, I love seeing all the new rookies and how they fit.

I will say though…preseason can get a little boring at times. Since it’s only preseason, the coaches only play the starters for a short period of time and the effort and play level you normally see during regular season games simply isn’t there.

Then there’s the growing controversy over preseason ticket prices for regular season ticket holders. Ticket holders are forced to buy preseason tickets – at the SAME price – as the regular season games. This infuriates a lot of fans, and for good reason. You’re paying big money to watch a game where the starters don’t play and essentially means nothing on the season and against the team’s record.

However, if you are looking to get to Soldier Field during the warmer months and are not lucky enough to be a regular season ticket holder, preseason is a good, cheap alternative. Tickets usually start around $40 for seats that during the regular season will cost you around $250.  Find the best deals HERE.

So Bear down, even if it is still a little early and irrelevant for your liking – football season is here! Regardless of whether these games are official or unofficial, it’s still football, and that my friends, is a very, very good thing.

Bears Preseason Schedule: (all times in CST)

Friday August 9th (today!) @ Carolina Panthers 7pm on FOX-32

Thursday August 15th vs. San Diego Chargers at 7pm on ESPN (aka nationally televised)

Friday August 23rd @ Oakland Raiders at 9pm on FOX-32

Thursday August 29th vs. Cleveland Browns at 7pm on FOX-32

 

About the author: Heather Pink is a Chicago native that graduated from the University of Illinois and is obsessed with the Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks and the White Sox. Heather is currently in Los Angeles working with NFL.com as a Producer, but still does her fair share of sports reporting on the side. Follow Heather on Twitter @heatherpink2 or visit her website at http://heatherpink.weebly.com/

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