SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 6-3 Wednesday night in a pre-season game that featured little offense, only a brief appearance by Eli Manning and no appearance by Tom Brady.

“I think that’s bad for football,” John Madden told the KCBS morning crew. “It seems to me, as the years go on, that guys are afraid to get hurt. You hear that so much, that ‘well we don’t want to play them more, we don’t want them to get hurt.’ Well dog gone, when the season starts you have to play them the whole game. If you put that thought in their mind – you know, don’t play because you might get hurt – you can’t play football. You can’t do it. I mean then you might as well go do something else… I don’t know how they get in shape to play a regular season game at a high level.”

The NFL has announced the regular season will start next week with replacement refs as the labor dispute continues. “It’s not going to be an ideal situation,” Madden said. “It’s not going to be perfect. It’s going to be far from perfect… Someone could lose a game because of a bad call or lack of a call or whatever. And then that could be carried on through the year and affect you at the end of the year.” (8:55)

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)