Is Just One Open Eagles Practice a Big Deal?

Is Just One Open Eagles Practice a Big Deal?
Remember the days when every training camp practice was open to the public? The Eagles would go to Lehigh University and thousands of fans would be there to watch practice.
 
That’s right, a number of people would even take off from work to attend because they enjoyed seeing the Eagles in training camp.
 
Since the Eagles left Lehigh in 2013 to hold training camp at their own facility, the Nova Care Complex, the number of open practices has continued to dwindle.
 
The Eagles held four open practices in 2013 and two last year.
 
Now it is down to one this season.
 
The lone open practice will be 7 p.m. on Sunday August 4 at Lincoln Field. There will be a $10 admission with all the proceeds going to autism research.
 
People are all up in arms over this and the Eagles are last in the NFL when it comes to holding open practice.
 
Profootballtalk.com has been running a list of all the open practices. The Dallas Cowboys lead the NFL by offering 20 open practices.
 
Not only were the Eagles in last place with just one open practice, but the next nearest team is the New York Jets with five.
 
There has been a lot of howling and screaming from the fans (and some media members) about the Eagles lack of open practices.
 
Let’s look from the team perspective.
 
The reason a team holds training camp is to prepare for the season. The best way to prepare is to have continuity, which means practicing at their own facility. (It must be noted that at the Eagles practice facility, some select season-ticket holders, corporate partners, and charitable organizations are invited to practice).
 
Yet that is different than transporting everything to Lincoln Financial Field to an open practice. And the team likely doesn’t get as much work done in the open practice at the Linc, which is more of a show for fans.
 
The biggest argument to offering open practices is that many of the fans can’t afford to pay for a regular season (or even preseason) game and this is the only time they can see the Eagles in person.
 
While that may be the case, the Eagles No. 1 priority is to get ready for the season. If the Eagles go to the Super Bowl and even win it, will anybody be talking about the lack of open practices in the preseason?
 
Following the NFL is expensive and if people can’t watch the players in person, at least the viewing experience on television is the best among any sport.
 
It’s nice to make the connection in person with the players, but the team is focused on winning and if the fans get the short end of things, so be it.

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It would be a nice public relations move to have more practices, but at this time the Eagles don’t need PR. They own the city and can worry about one thing – doing whatever it takes to make them a Super Bowl contending team.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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