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18 Game Season?

June 17, 2010
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Packers’ President Mark Murphy, who is a member of the owner’s negotiating committee, was interviewed by the NFL Network yesterday. The bulk of the interview consisted of the idea of changing from 16 regular season games and 4 preseason games to 18 regular season games and 2 preseason games.

The interview also covered other topics ranging from adding to the number of players on a team’s roster to changing the rules for injured reserve. The entire transcript of Rich Eisen’s interview with Murphy can be found at CheeseheadTV. It’s an interesting read, if that sort of thing floats your boat.

I have far too much to do today to write all my opinions about this, but I will say this: The players would have to be crazy to agree to an 18 game season.

According to the Player’s Association (NFLPA) the average length of an NFL career is 4 years. Add two more games to a season, and I believe that number decreases. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have more football, but from the players’ perspective, adding two more games to the regular season would be a bad idea. Players would increase their odds of suffering a career threatening injury, and therefore, make less money. The risk is simply not worth the reward in this case.

I have to believe that the owner’s are floating this idea in order to posture themselves to end up with as much money as possible during the upcoming labor negotiations. Specifically, the more possible revenue streams the owners propose equate to more money in their pockets after the negotiations are said and done.

This is just the beginning. I think the whole process of re-negotiating the collective bargaining agreement is going to get ugly. Stay tuned…

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jayme permalink
    June 17, 2010 2:30 pm

    The average length of an NFL career is 4 years, but that takes into account all the scrubs who are only around for a season then disappear. If your stud running back loses 2 games off of his career, some scrub will come in and get 2 more games added on to his. This number doesn’t mean a whole lot.** I’d be curious to see the average NFL career length of a starter.

    Also, I had heard (somewhere, for the life of me I have no idea where) that the league would consider adding another bye week if the extended the season to 18 games. If this is the case, it might actually not be as bad for players’ careers as you would think. The idea being that they would have a lower game-per-bye-week ratio (18/2 = 9 vs 16/1 = 16) and thus be more rested (or, at least, less exhausted and have fewer bumps and bruises) towards the end of the year so they’d be less at risk of injury.

    **If you think about it, the number makes sense, intuitively. On average, teams get 7-8 draft picks a year (with compensatories), and teams bring in a whole crap load of undrafted free agents. Teams can carry 53 players on their roster through the year, plus 4-5 practice squad players, and generally add 2-3 players because of injury/poor performance each year, so let’s say 60 total players. Now, if you’re bringing in 20 rookies to vie for 60 spots, approximately 1/4 of the roster(including new rookies) will be left off, hence the average career being 4 years. Now, obviously, these are back of a napkin calculations just meant to illustrate a point, but you get the idea.

    • June 18, 2010 6:00 am

      Jayme, you bring up some good points, but I don’t know if an extra bye week makes it worth it for the players. I think more games = more injuries.

      I see the owners getting their way on this (the fan support is certainly there and when does Goodell not get his way). Yet, if the players agree to this I hope there is someone thinking creatively on the player’s side of the negotiating table to get something in return.

  2. June 17, 2010 3:08 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. I said the exact same thing over at my site. The owners are worried about quality of preseason games, but if you really think about it, more injuries would cause more backups to play, causing preseason-like quality at the end of the year, when attention to football, and potential for revenue is at its highest.

    Go Pack Go!

    • June 18, 2010 6:02 am

      CHHQ, I think you’re right. And how does this address the problem of teams packing it in at the end of the season? It’s got nothing to do with football and everything to do with money.

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