Cowboys Lose 2 More Preseason Games (Now Just 2 More To Dump)

Mike Fisher

FRISCO - The NFL has cut its preseason in half. Meaning we're halfway to really getting somewhere.

The league as announced the elimination of 2020 preseason Weeks 1 and 4 due to concerns over COVID-19 exposure. This follows up the previous decision to dump Week 0, as the coronavirus already affected the Dallas Cowboys schedule with the cancellation of the Hall of Fame Game in Canton.

So five weeks became four. Now four weeks has become two.

And, "Be ready for 1 or 0 preseason games,'' Brandon McManus of the Broncos writes on Twitter. "Won’t be 2.''

And - separate from COVID-19, which might truly mean the NFL scraps this preseason altogether - we are actually heading in the right direction.

Again, separation from the coronavirus: What NFL players, fans and media are about to realize (and maybe what NFL owners are about to be forced to admit) is that five fake games were never necessary for "football reasons.'' Same with four. Same with three. Same with two.

You get the idea.

As Golden Tate of the Giants wrote on Twitter, "YES!!! I mean oh darn we aren’t playing 4 very meaningful games this year??''

For the Cowboys, Canton is out (they've rescheduled Dallas vs. Steelers for a year from now), and the exhibition Week 1 opening of the new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles against the Chargers is out, and the Week 4 preseason-closer at the Houston Texans is out.

Good. Good. Good.

Now what to do about Weeks 2 and 3? In the case of the Cowboys, those are presently slated to be home games against the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs. I'm seeing lots of stories of the league wanting to juggle the home and away games for each team out of "fairness to the fans.'' ... in this case, suggesting that fans in Baltimore and Kansas City will feel "robbed'' of the experience of going to a meaningless game.

I can promise you that in most cases, those seats are owned by season-ticket holders. They will not feel "robbed'' if they get that portion of their money back. The "robbery,'' in many instances, comes in the form of NFL teams forcing fans who want to buy passes to the regular season also having to purchase passes to the exhibitions.

For years, the NFL has tried to trick us (or trick itself) into thinking that preseason games are needed to "get up to speed,'' to "make roster decisions'' and to "see guys when the football bullets are really flying.'' But those things can all be fairly simulated in a practice, minus the injury risk. 

And anything that cannot be simulated? Fine. All 32 teams will be on a level playing field. The "sloppiness'' and "lack of timing'' will exist equally for all of them. The best team will still win.

I take you back to the early 1990s, and an annual exercise for me as a beat writer covering the Cowboys. Every year, as with every other beat writer, I opened training camp by writing a "projection'' of who would make the roster. And by God, every year my newspaper prediction somehow magically nailed those roster predictions.

How? Because coordinators Norv Turner and Dave Wannstedt, in a clandestine way ... wrote down on a sheet of paper who would make the team. And handed me the sheet of paper.

They didn't need four fake games to determine the Cowboys roster. Within a body or two, they opened camp already knowing.

Funny thing. High-school kids at age 16 don't need "preseason games.'' College kids at age 20 don't need "preseason games.'' Why would NFL players at age 28 need "preseason games''?

Answer? They don't. They never have. And now, as one of the few fortunate things to come out of the coronavirus-in-sports crisis, the NFL world is about to be forced to admit that.