July 28, 2022 2 min read
Football fans are all abuzz as the road to the 2022 NFL season is officially underway. The season kicks off on Thursday, September 8 at SoFi Stadium when the defending Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams host the Buffalo Bills. There are plenty of great match-ups to look forward to during the 272 game regular season schedule, but first things first – Preseason.
For die-hard football fans, this is often the chance to get a close-up look at their favorite team. The Philadelphia Eagles, for example, have one practice open to the public this year. On August 7, if you have a ticket, you can go watch the team prepare for the upcoming season, get some autographs, etc. It’s all choreographed to give fans the full experience.
Written like that, it sounds like the fans are getting a real treat. The reality is, training camp used to be way more fun for Eagles fans. In Philly, they like to say, “back in the day” – So, back in the day, the Eagles held their training camp at West Chester University. From 1980-1995, camp was six/seven weeks long. The players stayed in dorm rooms on campus and were accessible to the fans. In fact, the players often went out to local bars with a college haunt called “The Rat” being among their favorite.
One Eagles fan recalls his favorite training camp memory – “One weeknight I ran into Jim McMahon, Keith Jackson, and Keith Byers at a dive bar playing pool. We paired up into teams and played pool for about 3 hours. Legend has it that a record number of pitchers of Miller Lite were consumed that night. All the players showed up for practice the next day.”
Not all teams have abandoned the fans. The Cowboys return to Oxnard, California for the 8th year in a row. They will have 15 open training camp sessions in Oxnard, then an additional five when they return to Dallas, so 20 in total. The Denver Broncos are right behind them with 19 open sessions at their facility in Englewood, Colorado. The Vikings, Colts and Packers will host the fans for 16.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Las Vegas Raiders have shut the fans out entirely. They won’t be holding any open practices sessions this season! Here’s a list of how many open sessions each team will be hosting: https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/06/24/keeping-tabs-on-open-practices-at-nfl-training-camps/
This is big business and every team has structure around the pre-season process. Not every team starts training camp at the same time. Here’s a full list of when each team starts camp: https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/nfl-training-camp-2022-dates-schedule-locations/t30j3lcvfpeydsrj9frlbqc8. While the teams may start at separate times, as Sporting News points out, the rules are the same across the board, “There is no contact permitted at the first three days of training camp for any team. Gradually, they ramp up over the next four days — with Day 6 being a mandatory day off — before full-contact practices begin on Day 7 of camp.”
Football fans rejoice. The season is right around the corner. Time to start focusing on that fantasy lineup so you’re ready for kickoff.
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