With the possible exception of Tecmo Bowl juggernaut Bo Jackson and the absolutely legendary Pablo Sanchez, it’s hard to think of a more dominant video game athlete than the version of Michael Vick who appeared in Madden 2004. The man on that year’s cover was essentially a cheat code, only you didn’t need to press a bunch of buttons in a certain order to unlock his truly absurd arm and his ability to scamper out of the pocket and turn on the jets.
I mean, just look at this.
That just isn’t fair.
However, playing Madden was the only way to see Vick work his magic for the majority of the 2003 season, as he was sidelined until Week 14 after suffering a leg injury during the second game of the preseason and subsequently forced to settle for making dogs fight each other whenever he was in a competitive mood.
The NFL obviously isn’t the only league that uses exhibition games to help teams finalize their roster and work out the kinks so they’re as ready as can be for the ones that actually matter. It’s also not the only one that sees players sidelined by injuries that are suffered during essentially meaningless contests but I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess there aren’t any other sports that saw guys concussed on 49 different occasions during the preseason last year.
It’s kind of wild to think NFL teams once played six fake games before the slate was reduced to four (which still seems pretty excessive). Under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement that was ratified earlier this year, that total will likely be reduced to three in 2021, a number that is infinitely more than the zero that will almost certainly be played this year based on a proposal that was issued on Monday.
The league has been engaged in talks with the NFL Players Association to address the safety issues at the top of everyone’s mind, and while it initially pushed to cut the number of preseason games in half, it realized there are probably better hills to die on as all of the parties involved do what they can to make sure no one dies.
NFLPA has asked for this during negotiations. Makes a ton of sense. Proposals being exchanged very quickly and frequently at this point. https://t.co/PvIO3Pez28
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) July 20, 2020
There are few sporting events I care about less than preseason football games but the same can’t be said for the owners who make season ticket holders pay for them as part of their package. I’m not saying the financial element was a major factor in this call, but at the same time, it probably made things a little easier.
It’s worth noting I’ve seen a few people express concern that this could impact the quality of play over the first few weeks of the actual season, but at this point, we’ll be lucky to even get a season at all so let’s just take what we can get.