NFL schedulers didn’t do Indianapolis Colts season-ticket holders any favors with the 2017 preseason lineup announced on Monday.
The Colts open their preseason slate with a home game against Detroit, followed by road games against Dallas and Pittsburgh before wrapping up with a home date against Cincinnati. (Exact dates and times for the games will be announced later.)
The schedule amounts to a double-whammy for local fans who hoped to see Andrew Luck and the rest of the starters in Lucas Oil Stadium prior to the regular season.
Season-ticket holders often grumble about being forced to pay for two meaningless preseason games as part of their season-ticket package. Tickets for preseason games usually cost the same as tickets for the eight regular-season games.
And some preseason games are more meaningless than others. It seems Colts fans this season got the worst of the worst.
While games against the resurgent Cowboys and the fabled Steelers offer some intrigue, those games are on the road.
The opponents for the Colts’ two preseason home games—the Lions and the Bengals—are far less intriguing. But that’s not the worst of it.
Astute NFL fans know well that the second and third preseason games are the only ones where the starters are apt to test themselves much. In those games, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and the No. 1 offense will likely play two quarters, and some starters might even play three quarters in one or both of those games.
On the other hand, most starters are only likely to play one quarter of the preseason opener. Some may play only a couple of series of downs.
The fourth preseason game is a total throwaway, unless fans enjoy seeing guys at the end of the roster trying to extend their professional careers. Many of the players in the fourth preseason game will not be on the roster for the regular-season opener. And more than a handful of the starters will watch that game in street clothes.
Derek Schultz, co-host of WNDE-AM 1260’s afternoon sports-talk show, suggested on Monday that the NFL should mandate each NFL team get to play one of the middle two preseason games at home so fans aren’t forced to endure two mostly meaningless games.
I’m guessing more than a handful of Colts fans agree.