NFL OWNERS PUSH FOR 18 GAME SCHEDULE
They have been talking about this on and off for a number of years now. Expanding the NFL season to 18 games would mean different things to different people. To the owners it’s more money, for the coaches and players it’s two extra weeks of work, for bookies and players it’s expanded wagering opportunities.
The NFL, meaning Roger Goodell and his inner circle, has been in negotiations with the players union, the NFLPA, over the workings of a new CBA or Collective Bargaining Agreement which will govern most all interactions between players and league. The current CBA agreement expires at the end of the 2020 season.
The issue now on the table of expanding the NFL schedule to 18 games serves to further complicate matters already being considered by adding one more factor into the equation when they were already trying to add apples and oranges and limes to make everyone happy.
As a concession to the players, the current proposal to increase the number of games to 18, the league is proposing that all players will be subject to a 16 game limit for the season. The proposal holds the added attraction of providing more opportunities for more players to get into the games, like backup quarterbacks for instance.
Critics of the new plan claim that it will dilute the quality of the game leading to key players sitting on the bench when they are really needed on the field. At this point the players in general do not seem too excited about the proposed change to 18 games, however, none have actually come out publicly against it.
Many probably see it as additional opportunities to get hurt in one way or another, which is becoming more and more of an issue as players now are realizing that they practice a dangerous profession in which career ending injuries can occur in a split second, in play or in practice.
Of course the players will be making more money overall should the season expand to 18 games because that will mean increased revenue for the franchises and the players’ salaries and bonuses are based on league revenue.
NFLPA President Eric Winston told the Wall Street Journal, “They’re (the players) looking at it like, ‘Hey get back into the mine and start mining coal’”, although this is probably a bit more radical that most players are thinking.
So now the new CBA talks are getting underway and the schedule expansion will be only one of a myriad of issues discussed, and hopefully resolved. The once iron grip once held by Roger Goodell is yielding to transparency and public opinion at last and this time the players might actually make some important strides in areas where it really counts such as player safety and longevity. What an 18 games season would mean to that remains to be seen.