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New CBA sets up eventual 18-game stare down

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The NFL players successfully have beaten back the league’s desire to expand (i.e., enhance) the regular season from 16 to 18 games.

For now.

A source with knowledge of the terms of the deal approved by the owners on Thursday tells PFT that, while the new CBA removes the league’s unilateral right to expand from 16 to 18 games (while keeping four preseason games, if so desired), the agreement gives the league the ability to shift to a 16-and-2 format without the input or approval of the post-asterisked NFLPA.

The thinking is that, if the players decline in the future to agree to move to 18 games (which would push the season deeper into the winter months) and cut the preseason from four games to two, the league would simply invoke its right to cut the preseason in half.  With the players now getting 48 percent of the gross, the players would lose 48 percent of the revenue lost from a reduced preseason.

And that’s where the owners once again are badly underestimating the players.  As we’ve learned over the last 60 hours, the players don’t care about the preseason nearly as much as the owners do.  Spread over 1,900 players, the financial impact of the loss of two preseason games is relatively small.  Spread across 32 teams, the disappearance of two money-for-nothing games would chew deeply into the profit margin of many teams, especially since expenses in the preseason are minimal.

So when the league says to the players, “Well, our fans really don’t want four preseason games, and since this is all about the fans, we need to reduce the preseason to two games, even if that means keeping the regular season at 16,” the players should respond by saying, “Fine.  Do it.”

And then the owners will decide, after further reflection, that they care about their profits more than they care about what the fans want when it comes to the preseason.

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43 Responses to “New CBA sets up eventual 18-game stare down”
  1. hatethislockout33 says: Jul 24, 2011 6:55 AM

    Splash!!!!! The cold water just hit again

  2. footballfanatic3431 says: Jul 24, 2011 6:55 AM

    I don’t know. Maybe I am the only one, but I like the pre season. I enjoy watching the lower end guys fighting for the jobs. It makes for some fierce competition.

    But I can definitely see why the season ticket holders who have to pay regular season prices hate the pre season.

  3. jw731 says: Jul 24, 2011 6:58 AM

    Preseason games are more or less legalized extortion…I don’t care if they eliminate all 4…..

  4. jjrs89 says: Jul 24, 2011 7:01 AM

    Were at least 1 week out from them announcing football sadly. Maybe chester pitts was right after all

  5. burgundyandgold says: Jul 24, 2011 7:05 AM

    But two more games would give Eagles fans two more chances to get drunk, pass out in the snow and fight in the parking lot. Who doesn’t want more of that?

  6. stonecld33 says: Jul 24, 2011 7:06 AM

    Unreal the players don’t care about preseason. How do they think they actually got on a team or make a great team. As some point they all had to go through a preseason and now they want to make unfair for future prospects to show their skills in game situations. What the hell then at least make it if they already have gone through a full preseason they don’t have to play in all four maybe just have to suit up for the final game. But cut it to two is utter bs.

  7. sml1950 says: Jul 24, 2011 7:15 AM

    For the players making 7 or 8 figures it may not mean much, but for the minimum 6 figure players it could be more important. With 1100 of the 1900 at this level, the secret will be if the proposal can go directly to a player vote or only thru a committee recommendation.

  8. gpete1962 says: Jul 24, 2011 7:30 AM

    Simple Solution for 18 games: Increase the roster size

    The owners are to greedy and the Players are to dumb and greedy

    The real problem is, neither side gives a sh!t about the fans….

  9. justadude71 says: Jul 24, 2011 7:36 AM

    “And then the owners will decide, after further reflection, that they care about their profits more than they care about what the fans want when it comes to the preseason.”

    This.

  10. jw731 says: Jul 24, 2011 7:47 AM

    Preseason games would also give redskins fans a chance to realize their team still sucks…….

  11. spenser737 says: Jul 24, 2011 7:48 AM

    I love this blog, but their obsession of knocking down the 18 game schedule seems amusing, I gather the players are the source of their scoops so they have to take their side on this issue. Otherwise, I don’t get why its weird for us football fans to want MORE games. The football season in short and flies by unlike baseball, basketball, etc. I do not think its nuts to want to prolong it a little.

    I get players injuries, etc, thus expand the roster, use your depth.

  12. gpete1962 says: Jul 24, 2011 7:52 AM

    Eliminate the 2 preseason games and the networks can Televise live Scrimmages against other teams.

    I would much rather watch that over a preseason game

  13. tinopuno says: Jul 24, 2011 8:05 AM

    burgundyandgold says: Jul 24, 2011 7:05 AM

    But two more games would give Eagles fans two more chances to get drunk, pass out in the snow and fight in the parking lot. Who doesn’t want more of that?
    ———————————————————-

    Hey! B&G!
    What’s with your morbid preoccupation with Eagle’s fans? Do they laugh at you on the beach? Is one still taking your lunch money even though your 43 years old or does it have more to do with things your wife mumbles in her sleep?

  14. dinplant says: Jul 24, 2011 8:20 AM

    As a season ticket holder I hate having to pay full price for poor football.

    Even if the players say no the owners will just bump up the prices on tickets, parking, …

  15. Chris Fiorentino says: Jul 24, 2011 8:21 AM

    Before I was against the 18 game schedule because of the grueling league year. From all the OTAs, the minicamps, etc I thought the extra two games where guys actually tried were unfair. If all the stories are true about how much easier it has become, with that one source saying that the only thing the players didn’t get was someone to play the games for them, then screw it!!! Let them play the two extra games and get rid of two preseason games. It sounds like it woulnt affect them all that much. If anything it would probably add between 6 and 8 million to the salary cap with the added revenue.

  16. imlongdongsilver says: Jul 24, 2011 8:46 AM

    happy medium …. 17 and 3 . works for me

  17. pgripweed says: Jul 24, 2011 9:04 AM

    For now why doesn’t the NFL go to a 17 game schedule? They add an additional bye week so the regular season would be a total of 18 weeks with 17 games played. Pre season would be 3 weeks. This adds 1 real game and eliminates 1 fake game, and it makes moving to 18 real games a much easier process a few years from now.

  18. nahcouldntbethat says: Jul 24, 2011 9:12 AM

    Preseason football is like watching two fat chicks in a catfight. Only the diehard fans really watch.

    The preseason might have meant something from an entertainment standpoint before the 24/7/365 media cycle that we live in came about. These days football season never really ends with the continual promotion that free agency, the draft, the OTA’s, training camp and the fan sites on the web and the aforementioned media cycle creates.

    In that environment the preseason is a boring interlude between all the speculation of the offseason and the actual start of games that mean something.

    They could get rid of the preseason completely and most people just wouldn’t care.

  19. millertime30 says: Jul 24, 2011 9:25 AM

    @pgripweed

    you mean 19 weeks with 17 games.

  20. burgundyandgold says: Jul 24, 2011 9:31 AM

    Hey Tiny P – Eagles fans are just such easy targets is all. Of more interest, what does your name say about you? Is that why you are such an angry person? It really is ok because Philly girls don’t care about size – they are just happy when you are not too drunk to perform and when you can remember their name the next day – tough, I know, but you can do it.

  21. MichaelEdits says: Jul 24, 2011 9:32 AM

    This here fan has wanted 18-2 longer than the owners have been talking about it. I know the USFL did the “18″ part just fine.

  22. patsandsox says: Jul 24, 2011 9:42 AM

    I do not understand why fans are against the 18 game season. I love football. 2 more real games to me sounds like a christmas gift.

    Yes their may be some injuries, but with a shortened preseason, their will be less injuries in camp so it should even out.

    If they increase roster size it should make the union happy.

    I am sure its something they can negotiate, since its obvious after the last 4-5 months that money talks.

  23. SpartaChris says: Jul 24, 2011 9:54 AM

    The players shouldn’t disagree with 18 games either. Player safety seemed to be their biggest complaint, followed by money. With the concessions they got regarding the lack of hitting in practices, safety isn’t an issue, and expanding the roster would help as well. Also implementing an IR system, so injured players can return at some point during the season if they’re healthy.

    As for money, the players will certainly miss preseason when they realize their checks are smaller the following season. That said, two more regular season games gives them more revenue to draw from, which means more money.

    Win-win.

  24. Nikhil Balakumar says: Jul 24, 2011 10:05 AM

    dont post this, the players might see it and hold up the agreement

  25. customer909 says: Jul 24, 2011 10:12 AM

    Preseason is like kissing your sister. I don’t watch it all that much but I love the hype! For me it means the real action is jut around the corner! It’s that time of year were media coverage of the NFL really starts to pick up. There’s a lot more NFL talk on the radio and in the papers. Otherwise about all we get is the seemingly endless talk about baseball.
    NFL rules!

  26. fballguy says: Jul 24, 2011 10:14 AM

    PFT is thinking too much.

  27. PFTiswhatitis says: Jul 24, 2011 10:16 AM

    “So when the league says to the players, “Well, our fans really don’t want four preseason games, and since this is all about the fans, we need to reduce the preseason to two games, even if that means keeping the regular season at 16,” the players should respond by saying, “Fine. Do it.””

    The fans also will say “Fine. Do it.”

  28. 12is3times4 says: Jul 24, 2011 11:15 AM

    nahcouldntbethat: “Preseason football is like watching two fat chicks in a catfight. Only the diehard fans really watch.”

    Whoa, hold on a minute… there are diehard fans of catfighting fat chicks? (Or are they just bettors who have moved on from dogfighting, now that Mike Vick’s out of the business?)

  29. bucks12965 says: Jul 24, 2011 11:18 AM

    Hey burgandyandgold,

    I know it get’s cold in Philly, but I don’t think they have snow during preseason games.

  30. deadeye says: Jul 24, 2011 11:41 AM

    The fans don’t necessarily care about the preseason being reduced from four games to two. What the fans really don’t want is glorified scrimmages and tryouts costing the same as a regular season game. Having to pay top dollar for two preseason games has literally kept me and many of my friends from even considering season tickets.

    The owners are missing boat on this preseason/18 game schedule nonsense.

  31. pittman2052 says: Jul 24, 2011 11:45 AM

    I for one like the preseason. It is the only way to see how good or bad the backups are and what kind of team we will have during the regular season. I like seeing guys fight for a roster spot. It may not be the best football games out there, but it is still football. People.watch college football and nobody complains about poorer quality games. Football is football and that is all I care about. Besides, other sports have a preseason and nobody complains about those sports. Leave the NFL the way it is.

  32. endzonezombie says: Jul 24, 2011 11:59 AM

    Aren’t these the same ESPN morons who said a deal was ‘ definite’ last week? It’s too bad there is no penalty for spinning bad information to the public just so they can say they broke the story first.

  33. lostsok says: Jul 24, 2011 12:04 PM

    There’s a simple compromise to “enhancing” the season, which I’m surprised hasn’t been at least suggested: go to 18 weeks schedule of 16 games…and just add a 2nd bye week for each team.

    Players would welcome a 2nd week to rest their bodies, networks would welcome an extra week of national broadcasts, fans would welcome the same…and since it would not require teams to play an addition game, all the teams would get extra TV revenue with no additional cost.

    Win, win, win.

  34. blueprint1914 says: Jul 24, 2011 12:19 PM

    yeah hoodwinked and bamboozled is right…. I think fans have routinely expressed not wanting to pay regular season prices for pre-season games (same money for less quality). The owners have spun that to mean that fans want less pre-season games. I don’t think most fans care one way or the other, except for the price of pre-season ticket to games. Work harder and longer, for the same pay. Owners are constantly p***ing on my back and telling me its raining. Wouldn’t let my boss get away with it, players shouldn’t either…

  35. londonbengal says: Jul 24, 2011 12:21 PM

    @ ‘gpete1962′ has got it right…..

    To achieve 18 games at very little cost, all you need to do is include the practice squad into the main roster giving 61 gameday guys; (who are already being paid).

    You then say to the existing vets; you choose whether or not you want to play the two additional games or not.

    That gives the NFL 32 games worth of additional revenue to pay everyone what they want……more dollar$$$$$$$$.

  36. bjb2865 says: Jul 24, 2011 12:25 PM

    If the owners make more money on preseason games ,then why would they want to cut them? Doesnt make sense.

    It needs to stay like it is. 4 preseason games and 16 reg games.

  37. FinFan68 says: Jul 24, 2011 12:54 PM

    The system is as close to perfect right now as it can get (except for the reduced practice pampering). 16 games with the divisional rotation works out great. LEAVE IT ALONE and don’t water down the game anymore. The pre-season is necessary for the teams to get their rosters set and players ready for the regular season, not to entertain the fans. (They just happen to be exploiting the opportunity) The owners get revenue from tix and concessions etc. but they screwed the marketing pooch by printing reg season prices on pre-season games. Cut the 2 preseason game prices in half and add that cost over the 8 remaining regular season games. That would equal the same money, reg season tix would go up slightly and all the people screaming about paying reg season prices for preseason games would no longer have an argument.

  38. bearsbulls34 says: Jul 24, 2011 1:10 PM

    I love the preseason. They’re games that I can enjoy, but if I miss one, it’s not the end of the World.

  39. jbcommonsense says: Jul 24, 2011 1:31 PM

    I could care less either way. If coaches need it for evaluation, let them say so. If owners need these games for profit, that’s fine too. If neither needs these games, fine, cut them.

  40. stanklepoot says: Jul 24, 2011 1:52 PM

    gpete1962 says: Jul 24, 2011 7:30 AM

    Simple Solution for 18 games: Increase the roster size

    The owners are to greedy and the Players are to dumb and greedy

    The real problem is, neither side gives a sh!t about the fans….
    _______________________
    Not so simple really. Bigger roster just means more backups. You think teams will pull their key players for games that could decide playoff spots? No, the starters would simply play 2 more games, further increasing the odds of injury. In other words, those larger rosters could end up representing all of the backups playing in the playoff games because even more starters are injured.

    A much better option would be to go to a 3-17 setup, with a somewhat expanded roster (or just make all 53 players on the roster able to suit up for games) with an additional bye week for each team. They’d only be adding one additional game, and they’d give every player an additional week off to recuperate during the season. Oh, and they’d still end up with 2 additional weeks of programming to provide to the networks. Each week, there are plenty of games that don’t get broadcast other than in their home region (unless you have the NFL Sunday ticket with direct tv). This approach would make the league even more money than a 2 preseason, 18 regular season game scenario. They’d only lose one preseason game, and it would be replaced with two additional weeks of programming.

  41. jcg23 says: Jul 24, 2011 3:29 PM

    Just add another week of the play offs and let another few teams in to the playoffs. More football is better!

  42. Dean says: Jul 24, 2011 6:21 PM

    As a season ticket holder, why should I pay for full price for two games that are absolutely worthless. If you’re going to keep them, then AUTOMATIC BLACKOUT, so that those of you who want to watch them so badly can buy my tickets from me. I’m happy to sell. If they so desperately want to keep them, then move at least one to a neutral site (the first one). Funny, but all the writers talk about owners and writers and no one mentions the season ticket holders. If not for us, you would have empty stadiums = blackouts = reduced TV revenue.

  43. anthonyfromstatenisland says: Jul 25, 2011 10:14 AM

    The thing that is actually going to bring this issue to a head is if/when any expansion teams are added, which will make preserving the neat rotation of non-division teams within the same conference playing each other (at least) every three years, and out-of-conference pairings occurring every four years, impossible to sustain with only 16 games.

    This article explains it in more detail:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/634090-why-the-nfl-must-go-to-18-games-eventually

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