Would you be in favor of NFL eliminating the preseason altogether?

Preseason football is fun for about the first 10 minutes, but it quickly devolves into wanting meaningful football.

Should the preseason go away entirely?

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (14)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (14) / David Berding/GettyImages

Sometimes seen as unnecessary, would an entire cancellation of the NFL preseason be a good thing or a bad thing?

Back in the pandemic-impacted 2020 season, the NFL opted to get rid of the preseason that year, focusing instead on just the 16-game regular season.

In 2021, the NFL resumed preseason games but trimmed it from four down to three, tacking on a 17th regular-season game in response.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is on record for having said he'd prefer joint practices instead of exhibition bouts, and he's not alone. There are plenty of fans and established players who'd prefer every single game to mean something instead of a meaningless bout featuring players who'll mostly be out of the NFL a few weeks later.

While there has been talk about shortening the existing three-game preseason schedule down to two, plus adding on another regular-season game to make it 18, getting rid of the preseason doesn't seem to be imminent.

However, would it be worthwhile scrapping this seemingly meaningless exhibition phase?

The NFL preseason: Scrap it or keep it?

After months of zero NFL football on television, fans eagerly await the beginning of the preseason.

Admit it, you get excited for that first televised game even if the final score doesn't count for much of anything.

However, after about 10 minutes (possibly with or without starters actually playing), the game usually devolves into something of a disjointed mess. It's often sloppy, featuring players you've never heard of and likely won't see again once the regular season rolls around.

Coaches dial up vanilla offenses and defenses, not wanting to reveal too much in order to save their best plays for when it counts. Star players may play a series or two, and that's it. Some don't even suit up for the games.

After those 10 inaugural minutes, you can't wait for the games to actually count.

Established veterans and coaches probably feel the same way, and dragging it out for three weeks seems like drudgery.


Try convincing those fringe players in danger of being cut that these exhibition games are pointless. Nearly half of each team's 90-man offseason rosters are given walking papers at the end of the preseason, meaning those who are on the periphery are getting these last desperate chances to hang around a little while longer.

Plus, even if there's no room on their own respective rosters, 31 other teams will be watching. The chance to have a good game or two, even if it's preseason, can mean the difference between signing elsewhere or being out of the league altogether.

Case in point, in 2021 after a strong preseason, the Niners traded linebacker Jonas Griffith to the Denver Broncos. San Francisco didn't have room for Griffith on its roster, but his exhibition efforts were enough to convince Denver to partake in the trade.

It would have been much tougher for all parties if no preseason took place.

Related story: 49ers preseason 2024: Dates, opponents and more

Coaches and front offices, too, pour over preseason tape to evaluate the many soon-to-be free agents who'll suddenly find themselves waived and released once roster cuts are finalized. If no NFL-level game tape is available, the prospects for doing so are much tougher, as was the case in 2020.

For the casual fan, though, preseason games do offer the opportunity for those underdog storylines to rise to the surface.

Back in 2022, then-rookie quarterback Brock Purdy had some impressive moments in meaningless contests. Long before he became the 49ers' No. 1 signal-caller, the final pick of that year's NFL Draft turned heads and put himself squarely onto the fanbase's radar.

That was a cool story to watch, even if his stats didn't count for anything.

Getting rid of the preseason entirely would also eliminate those kinds of stories from happening again.

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