ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit criticizes dedication of bowl opt outs

ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit doesn’t think players love football as much as they did decades ago.

Herbstreit criticized players who opt out of bowl games during ESPN’s “College GameDay” show on Saturday morning. The network’s top analyst openly wondered why non-playoff bowl games were “meaningless” to players who opted to skip the games to prepare for their NFL careers and said he didn’t think that expanding the College Football Playoff to include more teams and more games would prevent players on top teams from opting out of games in the future. 

“Isn’t that what we do as football players, we compete? I don’t know if changing it, expanding it is going to change anything, I really don’t,” Herbstreit said. “I think this era of player just doesn’t love football.”

Fellow analyst and 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard then agreed with Herbstreit. You can watch their exchange below.

“Their whole mentality right now is about the championship, the playoff,” Howard said. “We’ve got to get into the CFP and because of that they don’t value the bowl games. When we were coming up, Herbstreit and myself, to go to a bowl game was a huge reward for a fantastic season. That’s what it meant.”

How Herbstreit and Howard are wrong

The criticism of players from Herbstreit and Howard is simply wrong. Players are opting out of bowl games to preserve their bodies for potentially lucrative NFL careers. Both Herbstreit and Howard know that football is a dangerous game and the chance to get a second contract in the NFL and set yourself up financially for life is one that outweighs the risk of playing in an exhibition game for many players. 

Players opting out of bowl games aren’t guaranteed to make anything near the money playing football that Howard and Herbstreit currently do talking about college football on television. Just look at…

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