Every Friday through the Super Bowl, David Fleming will check in with 12 things about the NFL. This week, he shares his thoughts about the need for training camp.
Contract squabbles. Retirement rumors. Fist fights. Season-ending injuries. You sick of training camp yet? Me, too. Let's face it, whatever old-fashioned charm NFL camp used to have has all but vanished now that rookie hazing is pretty much outlawed. Most teams don't even go away to camp or even practice in public, and, heck, teams like the Ravens don't even allow adults to ask for autographs. (Wait, I actually agree with that one.)
Here's a perfect example of what I'm talking about: We're told that all this drudgery is done for the sake of fundamentals. That without two-a-days in the sweltering heat for a month, players' skills and conditioning would diminish to the point where the game would suffer. And to this I say one word: tackling. This is still almost hard to comprehend but -- hand to God, or Goodell -- 99 percent of the time in camp, teams do not allow defenders to tackle teammates all the way to the ground. You wonder why tackling is so bad in the NFL? It's because teams spend a month in camp and practice full-on tackling maybe twice. Imagine, for a second, if wide receivers weren't allowed to catch the ball in practice.
The point is: NFL camp is a useless relic. And here are 12 reasons why we should just go ahead and get rid of it.
1. The Colts are the winningest team during the past decade, right? After all that preparation in camp, they've had one winning preseason in the past seven years.
2. Inside their enormous, spotless weight room on the first floor of Reliant Stadium last summer the Houston Texans used a giant board to keep track of every single offseason workout by every single member of the team. By the time the season started the board was completely filled. That would be 100 percent participation. Remarkable. Here's how that translated onto the field: The Texans started 2-3 and missed the playoffs for the eighth year in a row.