This is a story that’s going to heat up this summer, so we might as well get the discussion going here. Commissioner Roger Goodell has begun discussions with the NFL Players Association about expanding the regular-season schedule from 16 games to 18 games, and reducing the number of preseason games from four to two. The changes, which appear to be inevitable, are not popular with the NFLPA. While the league and team owners are behind the move, the union is not, citing the potential for an increase in injuries as its main concern. We all know how strong unions are so this may not be an easy one for the league, though it does appear that it will eventually happen, perhaps as early as 2012.
CBS Sports’ senior writer Clark Judge has a great piece available here where he talks to current players about the proposal. Here’s his lead:
Sooner or later, the NFL will go to an expanded regular-season schedule, not because it makes sense but because there’s too much support for it not to happen. Commissioner Roger Goodell is for it. Owners are for it. And fans are for it.
Only one problem: Nobody checked with the players.
So I checked for them. I ran the idea of an 18-game schedule through the New York Giants’ locker room after Thursday’s minicamp practice, seeing if players embraced it more than, say, Ray Lewis or Tom Brady, and the NFL won’t like what I found. Players not only were skeptical about an expanded schedule, they were downright opposed to it.
Football is a dangerous sport. Guys are going to get hurt whether they play 16 games a year or 18. Players make a lot of money and most likely they’ll end up getting paid more if the season is expanded. The more meaningful football, the better.