I love watching the NFL, and I have even been known as one of the few people who actually enjoy watching preseason football, but in spite of my immense excitement for the start of the season, I actually hate the NFL preseason. In order for me to fully explain my stance, I must first state that I understand the reason for preseason football, and I understand that it is important for players to get some full speed practice in before getting into the real games. It is just disheartening to see that players are getting injured at such an alarming rate. Football is a contact sport, so injuries are part of the game, but I have noticed that several key players have been hurt early on in this preseason, and many from non contact injuries. Big name players, such as wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Kelvin Benjamin, injured themselves while jumping or making a cut, while very few other player injuries have actually been contact related. I should probably blame the injuries of these star players on offseason conditioning, but perhaps the NFL is asking too much of these players in too short of a timeframe. Many of these players are jumping right out of vacation and into a gauntlet, injuries like this are not regularly seen mid season and that is due to players being ready to push their bodies to a high level. The NFL needs to either get rid of the preseason as it is currently constituted, or work on ways to better prepare players for the type of stress the season puts on their bodies. There is no effective way to rid the NFL of injuries, but in this time of increased safety, it would be wise for the league to look into ways to keep its best players on the field in time for the start of regular season. If keeping players healthy means getting rid of the preseason, I would be all for that measure.
The NBA free agency period has begun and as of yesterday plenty of the league’s top eligible players have already snagged max contracts. The Free agency period is a time when players who are out of contract can be courted and signed by any franchise that is willing to pay their asking price. So far this offseason, the two teams that many expected to make the biggest push for talent have been the most silent. The Knicks and the Lakers, two of the NBA’s most storied franchises, have failed to lock up top talent so far. At the rate players are signing, it seems like both the Knicks and Lakers will be sitting on the sidelines with money to spend but nowhere to spend it. The biggest problem with the Knicks and Lakers is their history, both teams expect the most out of players, but neither team has been competitive for quite some time. The way free agency works these days is different from the past, players are no longer just looking for the highest payday, they are now looking to go where they can win and compete with the least added stress. While I am certain that both the Knicks and lakers will be competitive in the next 5 years, neither team is in a market that is comfortable with losing. New York and Los Angeles are big cities, with fans who spend the most money to watch basketball, even when the teams are awful. As a New Yorker, I don’t want to say we are spoiled, but I understand the requirement we have for winners, since prices here are high regardless of the level of play. Playing in big cities markets puts a great amount of stress on players, and players who can handle the pressure and play well are exactly what is desired and needed in NYC and LA. There are still a handful of fantastic free agents left to be had, I just hope the Knicks have a good enough proposal to land the talent necessary to compete next year.