NFL fans not getting money’s worth in preseason

Thank goodness that’s over.

That, of course, is the biggest farce in all of professional sports: the NFL preseason.

Here’s all you need to know about what a phony the preseason is: The Cleveland Browns were unbeaten after three weeks, and the Atlanta Falcons were winless.

The NFL preseason is where the stars play little but the fans pay regular-season prices.

Through three weeks of the preseason, the leading passers in the NFL were Blaine Gabbert, Jameis Winston, Matt McGloin and Sean Mannion.

Paying to watch an NFL preseason game is like going to a top-shelf New Orleans restaurant and only getting the appetizer.

It would be like eating beignets without the powdered sugar. Or going to Celebration in the Oaks at City Park with only 20 percent of the lights turned on. Or, like going to the Oct. 21 Bruno Mars concert and listening and watching Mars  sing and dance Uptown Funk, and then leaving the stage for good.

The Saints’ leading man, quarterback Drew Brees, played less than two quarters of the third preseason game. He sat the first two games.

You can’t blame Saints head coach Sean Payton for keeping his stars on the bench. In Week 3, two of the better players in the league, wide receiver Julian Edelman of the Patriots and running back Spencer Ware of the Chiefs, were both lost for the season with torn ACL ligaments.

You can’t blame the owners completely for this preseason mess. They wanted to play two exhibition games and play 18 in the regular season. The players said no.

For those players on the bubble, those games are critically important. But for the fan who is forced to buy a ticket to that game in order to have season tickets, the options are scarce.

You can attend and subject yourself to bad football, you can throw those tickets in the trash can or you can sell them on the secondary market.

On the Saints’ ticket exchange, seats for Thursday night’s Ravens vs. Saints game were selling for as little as $5. Now, that is what I call accurate pricing.

Chatter about who will fill a handful of roster spots on a team might thrill those competing for jobs. But, the fans pay to see the stars.

I didn’t go to a preseason game to wonder if Ryan Nassib or Garrett Grayson would be the Saints’ third-string quarterback.

The preseason is dreadful football. That season-ticket holders pay big money is wrong. Owners will say that the fans have a choice. Just don’t buy the season tickets. It sounds good. But, the reality is for those who want their season ticket, it isn’t an option. Thank goodness the preseason is over, and September is here.

Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at edaniels@clarionherald.org.

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