Posted by Holly Phelps on June 17, 2010 Jump To Comments
Way back when, football was only played 12 games a year. And, when the league first expanded to a 14-game season (and then the current 16-game season), I bet there were some groans and complaints on the sidelines from players that were concerned about the additional injuries that would result from added playing time.
Well, now in 2010, the owners/managers have been sitting around the table thinking, “Well, we’re in the middle of protracted negotiations with the labor union about football in 2011 and the CBA. Why not just throw a wrench in all of it and call for a change in schedule from 4 preseason + 16 regular season games to 2 preseason + 18 regular season games?! That would be awesome.”
In fact, Packers president Mark Murphy has been making the rounds of talk radio and the NFL Network on behalf of owners, talking about how such an “enhanced season” would work, and what it might look like. When he spoke to NFL Network, Murphy said this:
If you look across the whole spectrum of everything the NFL does, everything is of great value. We do first-quality work. If you look at our regular season games, postseason, the Draft, the Combine; one thing that really stands out as being different is the preseason. Fans don’t like the games. There really isn’t a lot of value in the games and I think a lot of us look at it and say, ‘Our players and our teams don’t need four games to get ready for the regular season.’ So what we’re really looking at is how we might be able to change it. We’ve looked at three (preseason) and 17 (regular season) games and I think the real focus now, and I think that it’s gained quite a bit of momentum among the owners, is to move to two (preseason) and 18 (regular season) games. And quite honestly, I think we see it as possibly a way to reach an agreement with the players.
So, fans, it’s your fault. The NFL owners wouldn’t have to go through all this trouble if you could just…you know… fall in love with preseason. That’s not so hard, is it?
(If you haven’t been following this storyline, do yourself a favor and read that first story – the guys at NFL Network have done a great job fleshing out all the trouble spots. Also, C.D. Angeli at Tundravision has a really well-reasoned take.)
Now, naturally, there are questions from the players. (1) Now that our paycheck will be divided up among 18 regular season games, are we going to get more money? (2) Now that we’re going to be asked to go 100% for 2 more games a season, are we going to get better healthcare? (3) Now that we’re going to be facing more injury when we’re already playing hurt, are we going to get different rules on roster sizes and rules?
Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens made the (excellent) point that the players are already playing hurt in Weeks 16-17, not even counting the postseason. The extra cost…in terms of the quality of play, the player’s health, and the team’s ability to remain competitive and count on that player…that extra cost is exorbitant.
Now, the NFL has suggested a few changes to accommodate these initial questions. Change the IR rules from “out for the rest of the season” to “out at least 6 weeks.” Add another bye week. Give teams more roster spots at camp and during the season. And, perhaps most striking, add a developmental league to continue to develop other players who may be ready to step in at the end of the season when teams are run down with injuries and fatigue.
As a fan, this affects a lot of things. The teams clearly want to make money. Having more regular season games means more money. But is it worth all the extra cost? Do you think it’s worth it? Would you want to see a longer season? Would you cheer for a minor league football team?
With the World Cup heating up and Packer players in the headlines, there hasn’t been much to talk about…unless you really care that LenDale White suddenly remembered, “Oh yeah! I did smoke pot throughout the football season.” Ah, June. Got a question about another team or want me to dig deeper about our 2010 opponents? Send me an email at email@example.com or a tweet at @htphelps.