We’ve posted a few blurbs on some of the items on the agenda for Tuesday’s one-day meeting of owners in Dallas. Here’s another one.
A discussion will be conducted regarding the expansion of the regular season, and a corresponding reduction in the preseason.
The current thinking is that the regular season would be increased from 16 games to 18 games, and that the preseason would be reduced from four to two. There’s also a chance (although slimmer than we previously believed) that the regular season would grow to 17 games, and that the preseason would shrink to three.
As we understand it, the item isn’t scheduled for a vote on Tuesday. And while there’s an assumption that any increase to the regular season would come as part of a new labor deal, the Collective Bargaining Agreement already permits the league to play 18 regular-season games — without reducing the preseason from four.
Under Article XXXVIII, Section 12 of the CBA, the league has the ability to increase the regular season by up to 18 games by giving at least 90 days notice to the NFLPA. The only question not resolved is the specific amount of money that would be paid to the players for the extra games.
Under Article XXXVII, Section 6, the league is required to use its “best efforts to hold no more than four preseason games.”
So, basically, the union already has agreed to play up to 22 regular-season and preseason games per team, per year. (The Hall of Fame game participants could end up playing 23 games.)
The fact that the 2010 schedule has been set with only 16 regular-season games in the final year of the CBA means that the league won’t be using the ability to add up to two regular-season games within the confines of the current deal. But the fact that the authority to add up to two regular-season games is already part of the deal means that the league has entered the negotiations with the ability to expand the regular season absent the making of any specific concession to the players.