I, like every other NFL fan, would love it if they would cut the preseason to 2 games. Unfortunately, the owners would never give up an extra home game's worth of revenue to make that happen. These exhibition games are terrible to watch, mainly because they don't matter and you have backups playing for most of the game. Their main purpose is to evaluate the rookies and fringe players on the roster. Therefore, I would like to propose a few changes that would make the preseason a bit more interesting and more watchable.
The NFL has been trying to make the divisional games matter more for the past couple of seasons by moving them to the end of the season. Why not make them mean even more by having an extra game with each divisional opponent in the preseason? We get to see the tweaks in the offenses and defenses of our divisional opponents in a game that doesn't affect the standings and we get another chance to beat our biggest rivals.
Second change: Geographic "Rivalries" with the opposite conference
I have always wanted to have a rivalry with the Titans since they moved to Tennessee from Houston. It doesn't make sense to play a team so close to us once every four seasons. Obviously some of the rivalries won't work on a geographical basis, but I tried to come up with some that would make sense from a historical standpoint. These are the "rivalries" I've come up with: Panthers/Titans, Jets/Giants, Cowboys/Texans, Redskins/Ravens, Dolphins/Bucs, Jags/Falcons, 49ers/Raiders, Chiefs/Rams, Steelers/Eagles, Chargers/Cardinals, Broncos/Seahawks, Pats/Packers, Colts/Saints, Bills/Vikings, Browns/Lions, and Bengals/Bears.
Third change: Enforce some mandatory playing time rules
The worst part about the preseason is not seeing your favorite players for the majority of the game. I'm not suggesting the starters play the entire game at the risk of injury. I think the starters should play at least the full first half though. That way, you can keep the fans interested and still evaluate the youngsters on the roster.
Thanks for reading and Go Panthers!