Football preseason marks the end of one of the longest off-seasons in sports. From San Diego to Boston, it signals that summer’s almost over and that fall and winter are coming, culminating in the Super Bowl.
Football preseason is also big business. In almost all other sports, though, preseasons are low-key affairs for players and coaches to ease back into their routines. At most, they’re a chance for some fans to see their teams when they otherwise might not get the chance.
Not so in the National Football League —where what amounts to a practice game is the highest-rated prime-time broadcast of the week with close to 11 million viewers. In addition, 75,000 people show up to watch games in which starters only play in the first quarter.
It’s yet another testament to the popularity of the NFL and the stronghold it has on American sports. It also highlights the fact with so few games during the regular season, fans are eager for whatever football they can get.
Add in the August lull on TV, it makes for a potent combination.
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