Wake me when the season starts

JODY VANCE -- 24 Hours Toronto

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

Confession time. You know I love sports, but when you can put the words "means nothing" beside a match-up -- I'm out.

I am just not really a fan of preseason anything. (Save maybe Grapefruit League baseball, but that's more about escaping the snow.)

Of all the offenders, the NFL preseason is the worst.

Take the Philadelphia Eagles, for example. They have five preseason contests to contend with before the 16-game season kicks off for real.

Obviously, teams must tune up and prepare for the regular season ahead, but in some cases the number of "means nothing" sound bites give me a headache worse than an offensive lineman after practice.

It was exciting to hear "are you ready for some football?" theme song before last weekend's broadcast of the first Eagles pre-season tilt.

But, when the intro song is the most exciting moment of the game, it's time to turn the channel. I would give up all of the flash to see the starters from the get-go -- not just in the first quarter, or in the case of Philadelphia star quarterback Donovan McNabb -- one series.

It's no secret that more than scrimmage is needed to be game ready -- but there should be a major price break for fans, and there isn't.

I wonder if the NFL charges its mega-sponsors full pop?

Straight up: this year's schedule of 65 preseason games reeks of a cash grab.

Being the single most profitable sports league in North America, I guess the powers-that-be in the NFL can do whatever they want, whenever they want -- but if you are going to churn out more and more preseason games, then at least make the price fit the product.

Unlike spring training in baseball, where the tickets are cheap like borscht, the NFL preseason ducats hit the wallet hard.

Sure, the fanfare is there, even in the preseason. I'm no party pooper, tailgating is fun and who needs an excuse?

What gets me bugged is when the ball is snapped by an unknown, to an unknown, passed to ... well, you get the picture.

It is 181 days till Super Bowl XLI -- a game I'd gladly pay big dough to attend.

Because, as much as preseason seems like a waste to this sports fan, any sport in the playoffs is worth the price of admission.

Jody Vance is a longtime television sportscaster and personality living in Toronto. Her columns appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.


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