Footage has emerged of a fight breaking out between the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots at practice.
The preseason has got something of a bad reputation around the NFL. The games are often seen as meaningless, the attendance is usually a lot less than it would be for a regular season game as crowds aren’t interested in seeing 3rd or 4th string players play, and it can often lead to some severe injuries that cost players the season.
But at the same time, players need some way of showing what they can do against actual competition. It’s all well and good making great catches in practice, but if your opposite number isn’t giving it their all in the name of ‘safety’, or if the drill is specifically designed to help the offense so defenders play at 50%, then you aren’t really learning a lot.
Not only that, but players need to get into game shape in order to maintain their fitness levels ahead of the season. Now the NFL has made some tweaks over the years, for instance there used to be six preseason games back in the 1970s, which was then reduced to four before settling on three ahead of last season when the league went to a 17-game regular season.
Making the most of the time
One thing that has become a lot more common in recent years in the NFL is ‘joint practices’, where two teams will spend a few days together during the week before playing a game on the weekend. It’s a practice that a lot of NFL coaches actually prefer, as it gives them more opportunities to control plays and players and work out exactly what they need rather than leaving it to chance that it comes in a game.
There is some belief that the league might move towards having more joint practices and holding fewer preseason games in the future, however whether or not the TV networks would allow that to happen if they were to take even more games off the air is a different matter entirely.
However, one thing that might also have an impact on the league keeping things as close to what they are as possible, is the sheer number of fights that break out between the two teams, with the events between the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots this week likely to land as Exhibit A.
Can’t keep their hands off each other
Whilst fights in joint practices are nothing new, there appears to be a little bit more happening than usual when it comes to the Panthers and Patriots this week, as it seems they can’t go a session without wanting to scrap, but things went a little bit too far earlier today.
In footage posted by @MikeyInTheTruck on Twitter, it seems that a hit on one of the Panthers players didn’t sit too kindly with his teammates, as they piled in on the Patriots defenders in an almighty scrum:
Reports afterwards stated that a female fan was actually injured in the altercation and has subsequently been offered tickets to a game later this season.