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Mike Ditka says “crazy” 18-game season idea is all about the money

Add Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka to the chorus of voices opposed to increasing the NFL’s regular season by two weeks.

“I’m not for an 18-game season,” Ditka said on ESPN’s Outside the Lines. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. And the only thing it’s about is money.”

Ditka was appearing on a panel discussing the suicide of his former player, Dave Duerson, and whether it could have been tied to depression stemming from brain damage suffered on the field. Ditka said that he can’t square NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s desire for two more regular season weeks with the league’s claims that it’s serious about player safety.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Ditka said. “You’re going to have to increase the roster, you’re going to have to account for injuries.”

Ditka said that if the NFL really needs to bring in more money through another weekend of NFL games, it might be able to add another round to the playoffs. But as a former player and former coach who has recently become an advocate for former players suffering from health problems, he’s firmly opposed to adding two more games to the regular season.

“If you want to increase the season, add a couple playoff teams, fine,” Ditka said. “I’m just telling you right now, if they think 18 games is the answer, they’re crazy.”

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42 Responses to “Mike Ditka says “crazy” 18-game season idea is all about the money”
  1. packerfantastic says: Feb 21, 2011 3:47 PM

    Well, if anyone knows about being crazy, it’s Ditka.

  2. emac11 says: Feb 21, 2011 3:49 PM

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure everyone knows it’s all about the money. We didn’t need a mediocre ex-coach to tell us that.

  3. dotnukem says: Feb 21, 2011 3:55 PM

    Ditka=100% right

  4. cmstrick says: Feb 21, 2011 3:57 PM

    Money? Seriously? Money??

    Is THAT what this is all about?

    Thanks for clearing that up, Mike…

  5. melikefootball says: Feb 21, 2011 3:58 PM

    Wow this is a first …money is the issue. teams continue to pay outragious contracts to players they then have to try to keep pase with income from games played. Maybe if they drop paying up front money as well as big contracts to players that have not played one down in NFL they could scrap the 18 games. As all proffesional teams money money money is what it is about and please lets not say it is just the owners wanting more, ask the players where there eyes are directed, safety-money safety-money. SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!!!

  6. biglebronski says: Feb 21, 2011 3:59 PM

    It’s much easier to understand what Mike Ditka says by reading it than by listening to him.

    Ditka is absolutely right about this. Goodell and the NFL keep regurgitating the same statements about why an 18 game season would be a good thing.

    The NFL has only one good solution to fight the half-empty stadiums and the backlash of fans from ticket price-gouging for exhibition games. Charge half as much for the tickets, fill up the stadiums, and make up part of the difference in concession sales.

  7. nicnacbootysmack says: Feb 21, 2011 3:59 PM

    Da Coach knows best!! Extra playoff games would be sweet.

  8. wallyhorse says: Feb 21, 2011 4:01 PM

    Ditka’s words should be heeded here. He’s been in and around the NFL as long as anyone, and has seen the NFL grow as it has over a long period of time.

    My opinion has been there are two groups more than any other (besides the owners) pushing for an 18-game season: The bettors, and those who benefit from betting on the NFL. The fact is, betting on the NFL far outweighs any other sport in North America, and I would think a lot of employment in Las Vegas is directly tied to wagering on the NFL. As much as the NFL would never admit it (mainly out of concerns about religious groups using that as an excuse to advance their own agenda in the name of “stopping gambling”), the fact is, betting on the NFL likely is fueling wanting an 18-game season spread out over 20 or 21 weeks.

  9. Canyonero says: Feb 21, 2011 4:02 PM

    Ditka is right.

    Goodell is obviously attempting to change the NFL into a watered-down “touch” football league where no one gets hurt and can play 18 games.

    It drives me nuts he stands there with a straight face and says that’s what the fans want. It’s dishonest. And that sends a very bad message.

  10. lbcoach34 says: Feb 21, 2011 4:02 PM

    Is this something people did not already realize??

  11. flavordave says: Feb 21, 2011 4:04 PM

    I love football. The gruel of a 16 game regular season then playoffs. Its built to perfection. Although a mere two games more will generate tons of new revenue in TV deals, it will also weaken the product with expanded rosters due to an expected increase in injuries. It will negate all former 16 game records. For example: 2000 yard seasons will lose its magic. Goodell has taken a perfect product and will destroy it with added games and multi-continent teams. Who the hell wants to see a Toronto vs England game followed by one in Mexico?

  12. packattack1967 says: Feb 21, 2011 4:05 PM


  13. otistaylor89 says: Feb 21, 2011 4:05 PM

    I think the tide may be turning on the 18 game season as people realize how awful it would be for the health of the players – and that doesn’t include fans in the north having to deal with 2 more weeks of cold weather games as TV timeouts make watching games in outdoor stadiums in January and February less than a fun experience.

  14. iced107 says: Feb 21, 2011 4:09 PM

    thats actually the best idea i’ve read about this.

    don’t add 2 more meaningless games,but add 2 more meanginful games to the playoffs..increase the wildcard teams from 2 to 4.

    That way everyone wins. Fans win with more excitement and underdog teams or teams who had a previously injured player (franchise player maybe)

  15. slickzmoney says: Feb 21, 2011 4:20 PM

    Actually dont mess with the playoffs either. All that would do is force the 1st round bye teams into an extra playoff game further diminishing the importance of the regular season.

  16. biggerballz says: Feb 21, 2011 4:22 PM

    ditka knows more about football on his little ditka than anyone on this site does in their whole life.

  17. steelersmichele says: Feb 21, 2011 4:23 PM

    Sorry Mike, but the posters on PFT have been saying that for months.

  18. hobartbaker says: Feb 21, 2011 4:24 PM

    No Mike, it’s about the “crazy money”.

  19. stairwayto7 says: Feb 21, 2011 4:26 PM

    Who cares what Ditka says or thinks? This guy has no credability in my opinion! He won 1 Super Bowl over 25 years ago with a great def and did nothing else witht he Bears! He let the Fridge score a td and not Payton! Remember what he did with the Saints? Trade all picks for Ricky Williams? What a joke! Now he is as ESPN and acts like a savior! He needs to be like Buddy Ryan and just GO AWAY!

  20. thefiesty1 says: Feb 21, 2011 4:28 PM

    Of course it’s about money. Why do you think Baseball plays so damned many games? Over 160 games plus another 40-50 game playoff. They don’t count when a team loses 75 games and makes the playoffs! Who cares? leave the NFL at 16 so they all mean something.

  21. rafterman1957 says: Feb 21, 2011 4:34 PM

    It was 12 games, then 14, then 16, now it’s going to be 18. Get over it.

  22. chunkyloverfiftythree says: Feb 21, 2011 4:35 PM

    A play-in game for the 6th seed would actually make some sense. It makes a lot more sense than an 18 game schedule. If more teams are in the hunt to make it in, then more fans will be engaged late in the season. Forcing 2 teams to play-in for the 6th seed might be a good compromise.

  23. garyman1 says: Feb 21, 2011 4:44 PM

    He’s right…thank you

  24. newagerocker says: Feb 21, 2011 5:02 PM

    I have 2 things to say about this:
    1. DITKA
    2. It’s so transparent that the 18 game season is about money that even DITKA can see it.

  25. sjoyner59 says: Feb 21, 2011 5:17 PM

    BINGO !! thats correct and to be crystal clear about this issue it is ALL about the money.I loved when Goodell said the fans want it and that story on this site PFT was funny,go back and read the responses.I think I read about 100 comments and could not find a single fan in support of the 18 game season and for me a season ticket holder for this my 27th year….a BIG THUMBS DOWN from me as well

  26. august589 says: Feb 21, 2011 5:20 PM

    Frankly, I’d like to see one additional playoff team in each conference then just leave it alone for a looooooong time. And, actually, reverting back to 14 games wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    I was at first in favor of the 18 games idea–mainly because the USFL did it and the CFL currently does it–but the more I consider it, the more I don’t like it, especially in light of reading Peter King this morning about the former football players whose brains showed signs of constant trauma from years of playing football.

    Add playoff teams, not more regular season games.

  27. kingjoe1 says: Feb 21, 2011 5:24 PM

    Hey Mike Thanks. I was sure about the money thing until now. I was flip-flopping between that and the fact that just had lots of extra footballs that were going to waste.

    Since you are on a roll Ditka dude, can you chime in on Libya too? What do you think that is all about, crazy right?

  28. heyzeus143 says: Feb 21, 2011 5:26 PM

    how bout we don’t get over it and just keep it at 16, I don’t wanna see 3rd string qb’s facing off in the super bowl

  29. obxastronaut says: Feb 21, 2011 5:32 PM


  30. marcinhouston says: Feb 21, 2011 5:50 PM

    Fans, at least season ticket holders, are more annoyed with having to pay full price for preseason tickets and having a long preseason than with the length of the regular season. My solution is to create a ‘spring training’ atmosphere for preseason by having a 3 week preseason where a teams two home preseason games are joined on 1 weekend with 1 ticket for both games. Fans can attend a Saturday Afternoon Game, then attend fan cookouts / parties / festival Saturday Night and Sunday Afternoon, then attend a second preseason game on the Sunday Night, with the 1 ticket required to do this offering a similar value to a regular season game. Then for the other 2 preseason games, the road games, each team will travel to 2 similar events, being the Saturday Afternoon opponent at one and the Sunday Evening opponent at the other. Given the nature of preseason that few players play more than a half and many stars take games off, it should not be a problem for a team to play 2 games in a weekend and give fans a chance to get a good look at the first, second, and third strings in one trip.

  31. scytherius says: Feb 21, 2011 6:01 PM

    18 game season = playoffs and Super Bowl with 2nd and third stringers. 18 game season = your favorite player lasting 8 seasons instead of 12. 18 game season = end of the NFL as we know it.

    The 18 game season is a DISASTER suggestion. I hope ex coaches and players make it a chorus of negativity toward this proposal.

  32. joetoronto says: Feb 21, 2011 6:30 PM

    Ditka nailed it, add two more playoff teams.

    The league and players make more money and it stays at a 16 game season.

    Seems like a great compromise to me.

  33. db105 says: Feb 21, 2011 6:48 PM

    Not in favor of 18 game season but if that’s what it takes to eliminate 2 overpriced preseason games then I’m for it.

  34. justadude71 says: Feb 21, 2011 6:54 PM

    Guy, please, its obvious we, the fans, want an 18 game season. Goodell said so himself. If Goodell and the NFL claim this to be true it must be true. Just like when Goodell and his buddies count people outside a stadium as being inside a stadium to satisfy the overblown ego of a wannabe GM owner…

    I have an idea. How about the owners go to the players and say they want an extra 1 billion off the top, not to grow the game, but to invest in the communities (ie parks, schools, etc) of the people who actually pay the bills: the fans? Wonder if the players would turn that down? It might actually grow the game too…

  35. joecoz17 says: Feb 21, 2011 7:19 PM

    I have the same view, have more teams make the playoffs….

  36. dmobey says: Feb 21, 2011 8:21 PM

    Wow, what was your first clue Mike?

  37. MichaelEdits says: Feb 21, 2011 11:14 PM

    And if anybody’s qualified to recognize crazy when he sees it, it’s Mike Ditka.

  38. Deb says: Feb 21, 2011 11:18 PM

    If all you smart asses had read the article instead of just snarking at the “all about money” headline, you’d see Ditka also suggested adding playoff games as a way to extend the length of the season. And since players are paid for their participation in playoff games, the NFLPA would be less likely to balk at that idea. It would mean more wear on the teams to make the Super Bowl. But that might be offset by building in an extra bye week.

    Haven’t seen Ditka’s extended playoff suggestion anywhere else. Maybe it’s worth kicking around.

  39. peanutbutter&jelly says: Feb 21, 2011 11:47 PM

    at first i was all for a shortened pre-season and an 18 game season but here of late i’m much more in favor of adding playoff spots really does make more sense(to me anyway)to add playoff spots because it will give 2 more teams a chance and as tough a game as it is, it is only fitting that a couple more teams get a chance.but another good thing about adding playoff spots is that teams can still keep the same number of players so teams will not have to put out more money for more players and the risk of injuries because of the longer season are no longer an issue.atleaset that my 2 cents anyway

  40. wallyhorse says: Feb 22, 2011 11:29 AM

    I suspect we will see two more playoff teams anyway to give Disney two playoff games in the Wild Card round that would likely air as a Saturday afternoon/early evening doubleheader on ABC, with NBC getting prime time games on Saturday and Sunday night in a revised first weekend of the playoffs where games would likely kick off at 1:00, 4:35 and 8:50 PM ET both nights (though Saturday possibly could be at 12:30, 4:10 and 8:10 to best assure Saturday Night Live begins as close to 11:30 PM ET as possible on NBC that week).

  41. schrutebeetfarms says: Feb 22, 2011 12:51 PM

    Ditka isn’t totally right.
    The NFL shouldn’t go to an 18 game season, but they should leave the playoffs alone.

    Too many teams is never a good thing. See the NBA and NHL.

  42. gbpb4life says: Feb 22, 2011 12:57 PM

    how bout doin a poll on who wants an 18 game season or a reduced preseason pricing?

    since all about what the fans want

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