When the NFL's preseason schedule was released this week, the Chargers found themselves in a unique spot. As a refresher, here's what their exhibition schedule looks like, with final dates and game times to be determined (except Week 3, which is already set):
Week 1 (August 7-10)
Week 2 (August 14-18)
Week 3 (Sunday, August 24th, 1:00)
at San Francisco
Week 4 (August 21-24)
It looks like a typical Charger preseason slate. They play the 49ers every year and have worked in a healthy dose of the Seahawks, Cardinals and Cowboys in recent seasons. What is different this year is, the exhibition games will not be the only time the Bolts see a few of these teams.
Since the NFL rotates opponents by division, the AFC West plays the NFC West in 2014. That means the Chargers will get a look at Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona in both the preseason and the regular season, an anomaly to say the least.
It puts the Chargers in a bit of a strange spot. All three of those teams are coming off winning seasons, and Seattle and San Francisco might be the two best teams in football. So, it should be a great chance for the Bolts (and their opponents) to get a feel for each other.
However, odds are that is not going to happen. If NFL teams keep things generic in a normal preseason game against a team they might not even meet until the Super Bowl, what are we going to see when the potential of handing over an advanced scouting report is introduced to the equation?
Those games will probably look like an old Big 8 conference game from the 1950's. There won't be a whole lot of wrinkles. The goal will simply be to get everybody out healthy with little to no attention paid to making the game in any way enjoyable to watch.
That is the biggest problem with the NFL not altering its exhibition schedule when multiple opponents are going to meet up in the preseason and regular season. Fans are still forced to ante up and pay top dollar to watch a sub-par product that is only going to get worse in 2014.
For a $9 billion entity to be so callous towards its fan base is simply not right. Alas, it's probably never going to change.