The saying that there is no offseason in the NFL is accurate in many ways, but the lull that hits in late June until late July is real. Thankfully for us NFL fiends, that lull is quickly offset by the quick ramp up of news and action that hits in late July when training camp starts.
In years past, training camps started within a window of time and each team’s start date was somewhat haphazard within that window, but for the first time ever the majority of teams will start on the same date. The Steelers and Cowboys play in the Hall of Fame Game on August 5th, while the Buccaneers take on the Cowboys on the Thursday night season opener on September 9th, giving those three teams an earlier start date to training camp. But all other teams will start their slow march through the new 17-game season on July 27th.
July 21: Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys
July 25: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
July 27: The 29 other NFL teams
The NFL is all about celebrating things like the schedule release, first day of free agency, and so on. Pushing training camp into one start date adds yet another date to hype the league and when it comes to training camp I’m all for it.
This season we’ll still have some COVID-19 concerns, but for players and personnel who are vaccinated, it looks like camp will be very much like camps of old. Most teams will allow fans and there will be better access for beat writers. That all adds up to a more enjoyable experience for us couch potatoes as well.