SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The 49ers meet the Denver Broncos on KPIX 5 in their first pre-season game at Candlestick Park Thursday night . John Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew it’s an exaggeration to call it a Super Bowl preview.

“Colin Kaepernick against Peyton Manning – that’s not what this is,” said Madden.

But despite complaints about paying regular season prices to see mostly back-up players, Madden said pre-season football is both popular and critical to a team’s development.

“People are still hungry for it,” Madden said. “The game last Sunday night, the Hall of Fame game — and of course it had the Cowboys in it, the Cowboys and Miami — that drew over 10 million people. The pundits like to complain about it, but it’s a necessary part of football, it really is, to get a team ready. And you say ‘well, the starters don’t play.’ But the starters don’t play all the time anyway. And the starters get injured, and you have to develop not only starters, but you have to develop a 53-man roster. And you have to pick that 53 man roster out of 90 guys.”

Madden disagrees with suggestions that the regular season schedule be extended by turning two of the four pre-season games into regular games.

“Anyone that thinks that you can trade two pre-season games for two regular season games and not do a lot more damage to the body has not taken part in a game,” Madden said. “I’ll guarantee you a regular season game is played a heck of a lot differently than a pre-season game and takes a lot more out of you. I’ve always said that any player that plays one regular season NFL game — his body will never be the same the rest of his life.” (6:25)

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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