In the past, the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame game officially kicked off the NFL preseason. The fan favorite event is annually held at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio along side the NFL’s Hall of Fame Museum. Despite its popularity, reports are surfacing that this year’s game is in serious jeopardy in lieu of the continuing NFL lockout.
Nothing is confirmed but the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the game has already been canceled. If the Sun Times Mike Mulligan’s assertions are true, then the annual HOF game is the first official pre season game to be cancelled. In previous articles, Xtra Point Football has asserted the NFL will lose one if not more pre-season games.
Think about it! Teams will need to sign drafted and undrafted players in addition to re-signing their current players within 4-6 days of the lockout ending. Next, free agency will begin and mega deals will be announced every ten minutes. Once, the deadline for free agency ends a pre-determined period for restricted free agents will commence followed by franchise player tags. Meanwhile, the players will report to, “Training Camps 10.0,” where they will force an entire offseason workout into 20 days (Assuming the NFL and NFLPA ratifies and agreement on July 21st).
We at Extra Point Football, find it hard to believe that this schedule takes the organizations, players and fans best interest into account. First, even professional athletes can’t turn it on overnight and if asked to do so the result would be accelerated injuries. With player safety being a hot topic during the lockout we find it hard to believe that both sides will finalize the CBA without discussing a new pre-season time line.
Additionally, can you imagine being a GM during the two-week signing frenzy? Nobody wants to lose money but do NFL organizations want to rush player personnel decisions? The implications of brash and financially unsound contracts could hurt organizations even more so with the reportedly smaller cap.
Finally, would NFL fans rather forego a few preseason games so that their teams have ample time to organize themselves or would they rather see all preseason games possibly resulting in 20 injured players and Matt Lienart being signed to a six year 30 million guaranteed contract because it’s the best their team could do during the signing frenzy?
Listen, everybody wants the NFL and NFLPA to ratify a new CBA. Everybody wants football this fall and most agree that it’s going to happen. However, with the NFL lockout still currently in effect the cancellation of the Hall of Fame game should have been expected and maybe even welcomed.