GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Having played in them as a player and now getting set to watch his team endure five of them this summer, Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy said Friday that he believes it's time for the NFL to seriously reconsider its preseason games.
Murphy, who played eight seasons as a safety for the Washington Redskins from 1977 through 1984 and has been the Packers' president since 2008, said preseason play is the one aspect of the NFL that is not "first class" and said four games is too many.
The Packers will play five preseason games this summer because they will face the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 7 in Canton, Ohio, in the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game as iconic quarterback Brett Favre is inducted that weekend.
"I think one thing we can all agree on is the quality of play in the preseason is not good. And players don't need game time, they don't need preseason games to get ready for the season. Certainly not four," Murphy said during a session with a small group of reporters after a larger meeting with the media about the publicly owned franchise's financial picture.
"We've talked about this: It's the one part of the NFL that really stands out that's not a first-class [thing]. It's just not good. Especially that fourth game. It's kind of a throw-away. I'm sure [Packers coach Mike McCarthy] has looked at [how to approach] it. I think you'll see a lot of young players playing in those first couple preseason games."
Asked whether changes in the preseason could be coming, Murphy said there has been "discussion about it. I wouldn't say movement." He also acknowledged that any changes would be tied to the next collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association.
Murphy told ESPN's Rob Demovsky at the NFL scouting combine in February that the NFL competition committee, of which he is a member, has talked about cutting the preseason down to three games.
The subject of preseason play came up during a larger discussion about the NFL's plans for its international games.
Murphy said there's a belief within the NFL that one way to increase the number of games outside the U.S. and decrease the preseason would be to have each team play 17 regular-season games, with one of them being an international game, and then play only three preseason games.
"As you look ahead, if we're going to have more and more international games, something's got to give at some point. One thought that's been discussed is to go to 17 and three, and then everybody would have an international game. So nobody would have to give up a home game," Murphy said. "That's [one thing] people in the league office [have been] thinking. It's never been voted on or anything like that."