If you think that the number of practices that the Green Bay Packers leave open to the public during Training Camp has been dwindling, you're not alone.
Also, you're not wrong.
One year ago, the Packers left 20 practices open to fans and the media (including the Family Night Scrimmage), but this season that number has dropped to 17, with four additional practices that are closed. In the days of the old Collective Bargaining Agreement, Mike McCarthy opened up as many as 26 practices to the public, that number coming in his first season as head coach in 2006.
I say that because the Eagles are cutting off access to training camp almost entirely for fans. According to CSNPhilly.com, Eagles coach Chip Kelly has decided to keep training camp closed for the entirety of the summer, electing to open up only three special practices to the public. The 49ers are also only opening up three practices to the public, though their reasons are partially due to construction on their new stadium.
Then you have the Baltimore Ravens, who hold two open practices, one at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore and another at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis - and then hold a lottery to award tickets to additional practice sessions.
UPDATE: Since publication of this article, the Ravens have increased their open practices to three, now including an intra-squad practice against the 49ers at M&T Bank Stadium, in addition to the lottery.
For Packers fans who own the team and feel such a close connection with the players (think bike rides, autograph sessions, and everything else that goes along with Training Camp in Green Bay), to close off all but a couple of practices would be unthinkable. The public backlash that would take place would be astounding. Beyond that, the city of Green Bay would take a hit as well, as many local businesses take in a substantial amount of money during the five weeks of camp.
So the next time you bemoan the lack of two-a-days or the fact that the Packers' only practices will be at 8:20 AM for the first week of camp, just remember that it could be worse. Because you could be cut off from virtually all access to the team over the summer. And that would really be a bummer.