We, as a society, have progressed beyond the need for preseason football.
College teams don’t do it, and their seasons are just fine. Yes, it’s a little sloppy in the opening games, but guess what: so is the NFL. And yes, they sell tickets and TV rights for the NFL preseason, but they also just expanded the regular season to 17 games — get rid of the preseason, and maybe you can go to 18, which should happen anyway so that — and this is gonna sound wild — teams can have an equal number of home games and road games.
But most of all, cancel the preseason because football is an incredibly dangerous sport, and the only thing worse than players getting hurt is players getting hurt when it doesn’t mean a damn thing to anyone but the most degenerate gamblers.
Saturday afternoon in Chicago, hearts went into throats as Bills linebacker Andre Smith was blocked by absolutely nobody on the Bears, which gave him a free shot at rookie quarterback Justin Fields. And, oh man, did Smith ever take that free shot. In fact, he went so big on his hit, he knocked Fields’ helmet off and drew a half-the-distance penalty for the personal foul.
We’re not even to the first real game in the pro career of the man who is supposed to be the future of the Bears franchise, and Fields already has taken this hit.
Now… you might think — what with this being a preseason game and not holding any weight at all — the Bears would bring Fields back to the locker room and give him a full check after getting hit so hard, his helmet went a good three yards in the air. You would, of course, think wrong.
Khalil Herbert ran for a 13-yard touchdown on the very next play, and then the Bears went for a two-point conversion, which failed as Fields passed incomplete and Herbert was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
Fields stayed in the game, continuing to get his blocking from the biggest scrubs on Chicago’s preseason roster, because all of this was in the booty minutes of the second half after Andy Dalton started at quarterback. And while that meant Fields got a chance to show off his scrambling ability, it also meant nothing at all, because it was a Bears-Bills preseason game.
Nothing good can come of any of this, and the Bears are lucky that Saturday wasn’t much worse than a Buffalo butt-kicking, whose only positive impact for anyone was a fattening of wallets for people who bet the over.