As a parting shot of the NFL Owners Meetings, commissioner Roger Goodell lobbed a hand grenade in the direction of the players with the formal word that the league is looking very seriously at expanding its schedule to 18 games. There are all sorts of roadblocks, negotiations and dollars that will need to be worked out for this to become a reality.
The current collective bargaining agreement states that the players play 20 games in service to their respective teams. It does not state how many are “real” and how many are “preseason.” Let be honest: the NFL does a LOT right in regard to fans. But the preseason games are the biggest scam in professional sports. For any of you PSL holders out there, think about how much you’ve spent over the last 13 years in buying “mandatory” preseason tickets that either become a giveaway or a paper fire starter for your Labor Day cookout.
Goodell was merely stating the obvious: NFL fans think the preseason sucks and the league could benefit financially and spiritually by playing 18 real games and 2 preseason games.
Now, the coaches clearly need some time to get the players ready for the season and to make evaluations before the kickoff of the regular season, but if four games were really the barometer we’d be seeing a lot more of the starters than we do, especially in the fourth game, which is absolute garbage.
There is a plan for a 17-game season with neutral site games, which probably will never fly. With 18 being an even number, it would allow for the league to do all sorts of creative things with the scheduling but here are a few unanswered questions:
Are they really going to play 1 p.m. kickoff games in August heat on Sundays?
How much more will the players want from the till? (They’re already going to have a fistfight over the money for 16 games).
What does this do to injury and the risk of injury for players playing two more real games in stead of four games of nonsense?
Will fans and television prosper with more games in August? Will people really watch?
Would they move the Super Bowl into mid-February and extend the regular season into January, causing more “Ice Bowls” across the northern NFL cities?
Lots to think about. But the 18-game NFL regular season is almost inevitable. The players know this and will be looking to get more money.
Yesterday, Goodell was just stating the obvious. Now, how to get a compromise and make the league better for everyone?
Let the debate begin…