Aug 29, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Darnell Sankey (44) and defensive back T.J. Green (36) tackle Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin (37) during the second half of a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Derick E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports

Hebert: Saints-Dolphins dud proves 4 preseason games is too many

Seth Dunlap
August 30, 2019 - 12:52 am

"Are you not entertained?"

One of the most famous lines in cinema history, shouted by Russel Crowe's Maximus Decimus Meridius towards a once-bloodthirsty but now-silent mob after dispatching a legion of gladiators in arena combat. 

Perhaps the National Football League should adopt those words as their slogan in the preseason, where usually football hungry fans are force-fed a distasteful product. It's not hard to envision commissioner Roger Goodell, standing arms outstretched in an owner’s box, shouting the phrase to fans who have grown weary of the league's torturous exhibition schedule. 

No.  We are not entertained. 

Putting a delightfully dreary cap on their preseason, the New Orleans Saints stumbled their way to a 16-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins in front of a mostly-apathetic crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.   Sure, there were moments of fleeting excitement, such as Teddy Bridgewater's 43-yard pass to Lil'Jordan Humphrey or Bridgewater's 12-yard touchdown throw to Emmanuel Butler.  Those bits of the game, however, were buried underneath the sludge of hardly-watchable football.

Former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert played through 11 brutal preseasons during his playing days, and has now watched nearly two decades of them during his broadcasting career.  Hebert believes it's time for a change.  

"It just goes to show you, I think in the future I'd be somewhat surprised if we have four preseason games," Hebert said, before expanding on his disdain for the NFL's current exhibition structure.   

"This has to change, because the NFL is top-notch entertainment.  I think we've grown past going to preseason games and wanting to watch."

For their part, the NFL has floated the idea of eliminating two preseason games in favor of adding on to the regular season schedule.  The player's union has balked at the proposal, and negotiations on the subject may take years. 

Hebert proposed another alternative.

"Like Sean Payton said, you know what we could have more of and people would watch it?  Practices against other teams. You just get more work."  

The current four-game preseason schedule seems like it's on its death throes, but the NFL will move at it's typically-glacial pace towards any change.  

Listen to Hebert's post-game comments, plus his analysis of the game, in the podcast below.

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