10 Worthless NFL Preseason Tickets

Football fans care about the preseason, but not in the way the NFL wants them to.

The National Football League's preseason is superfluous at best and a looming disaster at worst. Fans cross their fingers hoping that their team's stars or their fantasy team's cornerstones make it through unscathed. Stars like Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald seethe when the league's Hall of Fame Game, which kicks off the preseason on Aug. 3, isn't part of the four-week preseason, but a fifth preseason game for both the Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys.

Even the most anticipated game of the preseason, former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's announcing debut on CBS in Week 3, should make fans nervous. At least this year they'll only worry about how Romo will transition into the booth and work with colleague Jim Nantz, and not if the notoriously fragile Romo will make it to Week 1 without being horrifically maimed.

What's worse is that the league and its team owners know these games are both trumped-up scrimmages and liabilities, but they absolutely refuse to part with them if it means taking a loss. A few years back, owners attempted to cut the preseason in half, but only to add two more weeks of regular-season play. Players and coaches pushed back, which leaves us where we are today: With 65 pseudo-games that few people watch and even fewer attend.

Only about a handful of those games actually compel fans to leave their homes (or their waning days of summer vacation) for the stadium. The reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots play their first preseason home game on Aug. 10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and ticket resale and aggregation site TicketIQ says the average resale price for that game already tops $250. A rare appearance by the Green Bay Packers in Denver on August 26 has Broncos fans (or maybe just Cheeseheads in Bronco country) shelling out $270 a head. Even a preseason matchup between the Cowboys and Houston Texans in Houston inspires proud Texans to lay out an average of $291.

The biggest draw, however, is the Super Bowl runner-up Atlanta Falcons and their new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The nearly $2 billion makes its NFL debut on August 26, with tickets for each of the Falcons' two preseason games fetching between $300 and $360. They would have invited fans in sooner, but they're playing the first half of the preseason on the road just to allow time for the stadium to be completed.

Otherwise, there is some impressive indifference toward the preseason. With help from TicketIQ, we found ten games where you can not only get in for less than $10, but where some of the average tickets cost less than parking.

10. San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Chargers
10. San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Date: August 31

Location: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.

Average ticket price: $59

Get-in price: $7

Congratulations, Chargers: you ditched your home of more than 50 years to play in a Major League Soccer facility while some other team's owner builds you a stadium. Know who doesn't care about any of that? 49ers fans, who haven't seen a winning season since the team left San Francisco for Santa Clara in 2014. That 2013 Super Bowl appearance seems a long time ago, and it'll be interesting to see what new head coach Kyle Shanahan (the team's fourth in Santa Clara), will do with a whole lot of guys not named Colin Kaepernick taking snaps.

9. Miami Dolphins vs. Atlanta Falcons
9. Miami Dolphins vs. Atlanta Falcons

Date: August 10

Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami

Average ticket price: $50

Get-in price: $5

Welcome to Miami, where it's still ungodly hot and humid around this time of year and where even die-hard fans wait to show up until a few weeks into the regular season. It isn't as if the Dolphins haven't given fans anything to watch: first-year coach Adam Gase got the 10-6 Dolphins a Wild Card playoff spot last year and has them looking good in a conference that the Patriots have had locked down for nearly two decades. While it's nice that owner Stephen Ross renovated the Dolphins' home with private money and gave fans some shade, August 10 is still a tough time to get invested in NFL football in South Florida.

8. New Orleans Saints vs. Houston Texans
8. New Orleans Saints vs. Houston Texans

Date: August 26

Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans

Average ticket price: $49

Get-in price: $7

If geography alone dictated rivalry and intensity, this would be a $200 game. However, with the Saints offense looking like someone's 2009 fantasy team (nice keepers in quarterback Drew Brees and running back Adrian Peterson) and the Texans looking like an underpowered 9-7 team last year without defensive powerhouse J.J. Watt, there's no reason for fans not to wait a few weeks.

7. New York Jets vs. Philadelphia Eagles
7. New York Jets vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Date: August 26

Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

Average ticket price: $45

Get-in price: $5

Well, the setting's right for a rowdy, beer-soaked, expletive-filled, battery-throwing seat-filler of a rivalry game, the Eagles and Jets don't have all that much animosity between them. Jets fans could look at young Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and get depressed by all the potential. Eagles fans could look at Jets quarterback Josh McCown and marvel at the fact that he's not only still in the league, but is throwing to a bunch of receivers who could be named "WR JETS" for all anyone knows. This ticket price would look different if either of these teams were playing the Jets' roommates, the New York Giants, but we'll just get a confusing sea of green in the parking lot instead.

6. Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens
6. Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens

Date: August 17

Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami

Average ticket price: $40

Get-in price: $5

The average high temperature in Miami on August 17 is 89 degrees. The average low? 79. The typical forecast? Thunderstorms. We don't care how many fake-living-room suites you put in your stadium: You're still playing in a sauna when the rest of the city can watch you from home with a fan or air conditioner going in the background.

5. Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals
5. Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Date: August 31

Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Average ticket price: $40

Get-in price: $4

Hey, Indy: you're still paying off the more than $600 million in tax dollars you spent on this stadium. Your quarterback, Andrew Luck, is still a future Hall of Famer putting up those kinds of numbers on an 8-8 team. No, your front office hasn't been great in recent years, but there isn't any reason to be this despondent about the state of things. The cheapest ticket for the Indianapolis Indians, a minor league baseball team, is $11. We have a hard time believing that even the Colts' scrubs can't give you more than $4 worth of entertainment, though we don't blame you for not wanting to pay five times more simply for the privilege of parking.

4. Indianapolis Colts vs. Detroit Lions
4. Indianapolis Colts vs. Detroit Lions

Date: August 13

Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Average ticket price: $36

Get-in price: $4

Yeah, if you weren't going to pay $40 for a Bengals game, there's no way you're going to pay $36 to watch the Colts play a team that hasn't won a playoff game since 1991.

3. New Orleans Saints vs. Baltimore Ravens
3. New Orleans Saints vs. Baltimore Ravens

Date: August 26

Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans

Average ticket price: $35

Get-in price: $6

Now we aren't saying that Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco isn't elite, but this is the second time his team has shown up on this list as a visitor. The closest thing the Ravens have to a history with the Saints is playing a Super Bowl in their stadium despite a power outage. That isn't Flacco's fault, but you wonder if New Orleans would treat Aaron Rodgers this way.

2. Buffalo Bills vs. Minnesota Vikings
2. Buffalo Bills vs. Minnesota Vikings

Date: August 10

Location: New Era Field, Orchard Park, N.Y.

Average ticket price: $22

Get-in price: $3

The former Rich Stadium and Ralph Wilson Stadium has stood since 1973 and used to seat more than 80,000 as recently as 1998. However, the Bills have had exactly two winning seasons since 1999 and are on their seventh coach in the last decade. Capacity at New Era Field is now down to just over 71,000 after a $130 million renovation in 2013. Also, if nobody's told you, it gets cold and snowy early in Western New York. If you have the opportunity to get some sun and not be made miserable by the Bills, it's best to take it.

1. Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions
1. Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions

Date: August 31

Location: New Era Field, Orchard Park, N.Y.

Average ticket price: $18

Get-in price: $3

Yep, you can hand someone a $20 bill, get change back and still end up with a mid-level seat to an NFL game. Granted, none of the starters will be playing this late in the preseason -- and those who do won't be on the field long -- but this is about the closest thing to a deal you'll see in professional football. Granted, the Bills had to fire a head coach, their whole scouting team and general manager to get here -- and do little in free agency to make this team look much better -- but at least the folks from Brooklyn buying up houses here have some $20 football to watch after their episode of House Hunters: Renovation airs on HGTV.

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