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Death to Exhibitions

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I hate exhibition games.

NFL, NBA, NHL…even MLB, with the splendor of spring training, still wastes its time with the exhibition games.

My hatred of exhibition games is not contained to preseason formats. I hate all star games and pro bowls as well. To put it simply, if winning and losing the game has no purpose, then it is not worth playing. And do not get me started on the MLB All Star game, that is a rant for another day.

As we have entered the preseason for the 2016 season of the NFL, we are all once again about to be barraged by a litany of substandard football played predominantly by players who will never see a second of a meaningful NFL game. The real insulting aspect of these games is that they continue to get national coverage while fans are stuck paying full price for a fraction of the worth.

But I am not one to just whine ad nauseam without offering some suggestions. First let’s look at the purpose of these preseason games. In the days of yore players could not afford to live solely off the salary earned playing for their respective teams, so they would all work in the offseason. Furthermore, football was not exactly the favorite past time of the intellectual masses. At the time Boxing and Baseball were the sports dominating the headlines and even in those sports very few athletes were able to make a full time living. In football, most of the players were laborers in their offseason lives and that type of work does not lend itself well to continuously working out and practicing. Therefore the NFL instituted the preseason as a way for the athletes to get back into game-playing shape. So that was the players’ motivation for agreeing to and even asking for preseason games.

The primary reason for their advent, however; is the same for their purpose today: money. Originally football seasons were merely a series of exhibitions where teams would barnstorm across the country and the two competing teams would split the gate. The same mostly holds true today, where games are played merely for money due to the television contracts and the money generated from ticket sales. In fact, season ticket holders who do not want to pay for preseason games are at risk at losing their PSLs and even their season tickets altogether. Essentially, the most loyal fans are blackmailed into paying for these atrocities called games.

Here is my suggestion. Teams are at their own discretion to schedule inter-squad competitions with other teams. The teams involved must pay for the use of league officials. Games to be held either on neutral sites or on the host team’s training site. Season ticket holders get in for free, general public pays $10 per ticket and it is all festival seating.

The positive of this plan is that it creates goodwill towards the fanbases, it maintains the same purpose for the players and coaches in regards to finalizing rosters, and it gives the teams more autonomy and control over the situations in which their players participate, which would hopefully lead to less injuries. Also, the players themselves would likely be in favor of this due to the less formal nature and, again, the reduced chance for injury in the custom-made environment.

The negative is obvious…it will never happen. There is too much money at stake and there is not enough of an uproar from the fans to incentivize the owners to make any change. Therefore preseason will stay the way it is for the foreseeable future.

For what it is worth, it is important to remember that sports are in the entertainment business. Sports are not televised and obsessed over merely due to the spirit of competition. We all watch and follow our respective teams to be entertained. Right now all sports, particularly the NFL, are failing miserably to do their jobs and for whatever reason most people seem to be ok with that. Personally, I would like the NFL to take a page out of the WWE playbook and embrace the entertainment side of things a bit more and maybe, just maybe, these games would not be so painful to watch.




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Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals Acquire Kenyan Drake

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Kenyan Drake

The Arizona Cardinals have acquired veteran running back Kenyan Drake from the Miami Dolphins for a conditional 2020 draft pick, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Per the report, the Dolphins will receive a 2020 sixth-round pick that can become a fifth-round pick as part of the deal.

The move had been expected since it was announced that Drake was not traveling with the Dolphins for their Monday Night tilt against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and a Drake trade had been rumored since the start of the season.

While Drake e has been historically under-utilized during his tenure with the Dolphins, and seemed to be towards the bottom of the backfield rotation,at times, this season.

Drake has rushed for 174 yards this season.

The Cardinals add a playmaking element to a backfield in desperate need of some help as both David Johnson and Chase Edmonds have been dealing with injuries that are likely to keep them from playing in Thursday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Drake is expected to be available for that game, and could also contribute in special teams as well.

Drake is in a contract year, and could get a chance to get some solid playing time in the Cardinals’ backfield.

For the Dolphins, it is another pick added to an impressive stockpile for the 2020 draft. Miami has 13 total picks in 2020 including three first round picks, two second rounders, and two expected compensatory pick, and their own draft pick is expected to be the #1 overall pick.

 

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Cardinals Owner Bill Bidwill Dies at 88

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Bill Bidwill

Arizona Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill died on Wednesday at the age of 88 while surrounded by his family and loved ones, according to a team announcement.

Bidwill is survived by his five children, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“We are overwhelmed by the support our family has received, not only now but throughout the latest chapter of his life,” Bidwill’s son, Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, said in a release (h/t ESPN). “We are especially grateful to the nurses, doctors and other caregivers whose endless kindness and compassion in recent years have made our dad’s life so meaningful.

“Above all else, we will remember him as a man devoted to the three central pillars of his life — his immense faith, his love for his family and his life-long passion for the Cardinals and the sport of football.”

Bill Bidwill’s father, Charles, bought the Chicago Cardinals in 1932 and Bill has been associated with the organization for eight decades, starting as a ball boy as a child and went to work for the team full time back in 1960, which was the team’s first season i St. Louis.

Bill become owner back in 1972 and moved the team to Arizona in 1988.

“Bill Bidwill was part of the NFL family his entire life, starting from his days as a ball boy through his time as an owner,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a an official statement.

“Although never one to seek the spotlight, Bill had an incredible sense of humor and he made extraordinary contributions to the NFL. Bill’s vision brought the Cardinals, the NFL and multiple Super Bowls to Arizona. He was a leader in embracing diversity and employed the first African American female executive, and the first African American general manager and head coach tandem. We extend our condolences to Bill’s family and the Cardinals organization, which along with his faith, meant so much to him.”

 

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Cardinals Sign Michael Crabtree

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Michael Crabtree

It took two times, but the Arizona Cardinals were finally able to finalize a deal with veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

According to ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss, the Cardinals have added Crabtree on a one-year deal that was inked on Wednesday night, and comes two weeks after the team had Crabtree in for a tryout during training camp.

The addition of Crabtree came on the same day that the Cardinals released wide receiver Kevin White, and on the same week that rookie wide receiver Hakeem Butler suffered a fractured hand.

Crabtree and the Cardinals were unable to workout a deal the first time around as the two sides were not able to agree on the financial aspects of the contract.

The release of White is another disappointing turn in his career. A former highly-touted first round pick of the Chicago Bears back in 2015, White has been unable to stay healthy and was limited to only 14 games during his four years in Chicago, which led to his exit from the Bears.

White had been hoping to turn things around with a fresh start in Arizona, but now he will have to try and find a new team to get on board with.

 

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