Posted on: November 27, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

The NFL had to forego the preseason to fit in a full schedule, but at what cost?

The league has seen way too many star players fall to serious injuries this year: Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr., and Dak Prescott just to name a few. And these aren’t minor injuries either, which is the scariest part.

Ethan Holesha

Managing Editor

There is no doubt that the lack of a preseason, as well as other typical offseason activities, contributed to the increased number of injuries.

According to a yahoo!sports article, Dr. Lyle Cain, an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center in Alabama, said, “Back when COVID was getting started in March, April, May, most of us were worried about soft-tissue injuries — hamstrings, Achilles and things like that, where you have to have a certain amount of elasticity and tissue compensation built up in your system to be able to handle really quick, explosive movements.”

Well, there was no build up.

The NFL closed every team facility before the training camps opened and canceled the entire preseason.

No matter how much you “prepare” for a season, there’s nothing like game play itself. The absence of these practice games has been the absolute worst for NFL players this season. Without the run-throughs and getting their bodies warmed up, injuries were bound to happen.

Giants RB Saquon Barkley is helped off field after tearing ACL in week two against Bears.

Just after week two, there had already been fifteen Achilles-related injuries in the 2020 season. The San Francisco 49ers lost five starters against the New York Jets, including two who suffered ACL tears in a three-play span. The average from 2009-2016 was 12.6 Achilles-related injuries per year. The most alarming stat was that 64 percent of those injuries occurred in either training camp or preseason.

With only being two weeks into the season, that meant the worst might still be yet to come, and unfortunately, that would end up being the case.

It is now week twelve in the NFL, and there have already been at least eight season-ending injuries to star players. Not only is this detrimental for the players themselves, it’s also tragic for the teams and their fans.

At the end of the day, the NFL is a business. Without its biggest stars, ratings are bound to drop.

The league faces a tough task as it moves forward with the rest of the season. On top of the injury issues, multiple games per week have been moved, some even cancelled because of COVID concerns. Coaches are being fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for taking their masks off. Then, without any fans, this whole season has just felt so weird.

Do I think the NFL made the right decision by having a season? Yes. Do I think they went about it in the best way? I’m not too sure. 

It’s hard to blame them though. Something like this has never happened before.

It’s very easy to critique mistakes in the past, but the cutting of the preseason seemed to be a pretty blatant one at the time. While I applaud the NFL for how they’ve managed the season in regards to player safety and the effects of COVID, I hope they also look to improve the treatment of their players’ bodies and physical health moving forward.

Featured photo from The Boston Globe.