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Talk of 18-game season should go away, permanently

Roger Goodell AP

At one point in the not-too-distant past, the NFL had launched a full-court press aimed at persuading the players, the media, and the fansthat the 20-game football season should be shifted from four preseason games and 16 regular-season games to two and 18, respectively.  Since then, talk of two extra regular-season games has quieted considerably, and as Peter King of SI.com points out in his latest Monday Morning Quarterback, it needs to stay that way.

[N]o more discussion of an 18-game schedule,” King writes.  “Please.  Simple logic says that’s the dumbest idea of the Goodell Era.  Unless the league pushes the novel but probably idiotic concept of every player playing a maximum of 16 games in a given season, it’s an idea that must go away.”

In the most recent CBA, the league actually abandoned the ability to unilaterally expand the regular season, preserving instead the ability to unilaterally chop the preseason in half.  The thinking is that the NFL eventually will inform the NFLPA of the league’s intention to cut the preseason in half, and that the players will respond by reluctantly agreeing to add two games to the regular season, in order to preserve the revenue that otherwise would be lost by seeing 10 percent of the total NFL schedule (preseason and regular season) disappear.

If that happens, the players should call the league’s bluff.  And if the NFLPA shrugs at losing the cash from half of the preseason schedule, the NFL surely won’t.  And now that the offseason rosters have been expanded to 90, there are more than enough players to take the reps (and be exposed to injury) during the games that don’t count.

The lingering problem for the NFL, however, arises from Commissioner Roger Goodell’s repeated criticisms of the quality of the preseason games.  “The fans have made it incredibly clear that they don’t like preseason games,” Goodell told a certain Internet hack back in 2010.  “So the idea of staying within the 20-game format and taking two preseason games and converting them to regular season games has a lot of appeal.  But you have to do it in a comprehensive fashion that is going to ensure that the game stays safe for our players, and that we maintain the kind of quality or improve on the quality that we’re doing.”

But there’s no way to keep the game safe for the players by exposing the men who are on the 53-man roster to two more games.  That’s why it wouldn’t be a major shock if, in the end, the league locks on to the proposal mentioned by King.  Under that approach, the NFL would play 18 regular-season games per team, with no player permitted to play in more than 16 games.

It would add a new layer of strategy to the coaching profession, even though for many starters injuries would make it easier.  If a guy has, for example, an ankle that would benefit from a week off, give him the week off and count it toward his two mandatory street clothes games.

But the fantasy football crowd would revolt, and fans who have spent good money for regular-season tickets won’t be thrilled to show up at the stadium and find out that today is the day that Tom Brady won’t play.

So regardless of how the NFL tries to do it, it will be a hard sell to increase the regular season by two games, especially as sensitivity continues to grow regarding the risks of playing the game.

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101 Responses to “Talk of 18-game season should go away, permanently”
  1. lightcleric says: May 7, 2012 10:31 AM

    Goddell has zero credibility on player safety as long as he advocates an 18 game schedule.

  2. bigperm33 says: May 7, 2012 10:31 AM

    It won’t because Goodell wants it, and he is driven by only two things: ego and greed. Ego, he wants it, he will get it. Greed – two more games means more money for the league and the owners.

  3. bozosforall says: May 7, 2012 10:34 AM

    The owners should be forced to charge less for the meaningless preseason games.

  4. joshuavkidd says: May 7, 2012 10:36 AM

    Keep beating that drum… “Footballs too violent for some of us so lets ruin it for everyone”! Yay ultra-conservatives!

  5. kathyisintheroom says: May 7, 2012 10:36 AM

    The NFL will go away permanantly within 10 years.

    Too bad Goodell can’t permanantly disappear now.

  6. latchbeam says: May 7, 2012 10:36 AM

    Cut the preseason down to TWO games and this would not be an issue. Neither fans or players don’t like 4 preseason games!

  7. jiggy3198 says: May 7, 2012 10:37 AM

    They say all they care about is players safety but they refuse to use equipment that could prevent injuries (shock proof mouthpieces- better helmets) and they want an 18 game schedule. Ridiculous

  8. RavenzGunnerz says: May 7, 2012 10:37 AM

    this article is exactly why I want 18 games season. too long offseason needs to be filled with almost nothing. NFL draft gets 25 mil viewer, but it’s just a draft.

  9. qj1984 says: May 7, 2012 10:37 AM

    That system would actually benefit the vast majority of the players. The media and fans seems to only be concerned with the top 10% of players. Assuming teams don’t pull all their starters at once, a system like that would give some backups an opportunity to show what they can do when surrounded by good talent. That kid that was drafted to sit behind RG3 in Washington comes to mind. Can you imagine the payday he’d get if the 6 or whatever games over 3 years he got to start all led to W’s?

    I also think the pay for backups at positions of importance like QB would sky rocket. The best backups are going to command close to starter money because they become that much more important.

    As a fan, I am not interested in seeing that but the players could benefit greatly.

  10. dexterismyhero says: May 7, 2012 10:38 AM

    the NFL would play 18 regular-season games per team, with no player permitted to play in more than 16 games….

    Yeah, that will work……smh…..

    What does Hadji think?

  11. tharoostah says: May 7, 2012 10:41 AM

    “the NFL would play 18 regular-season games per team, with no player permitted to play in more than 16 games…”

    This might be the worst idea I have ever heard

  12. footballhistorian says: May 7, 2012 10:42 AM

    Another option would be to expand the league the two more weeks but add another bye week. It would add only one more game per team, but the season (and associated revenue) would get the two extra weeks.

  13. fcmlefty1 says: May 7, 2012 10:43 AM

    This argument is complete bunk. Any argument that can be made for not playing 18 games is the EXACT same argument that can be made for not playing 16, not playing 14, not playing 12, not playing 10, etc. If its too dangerous to play 18, its probably to dangerous to play even 1….

  14. mrw423 says: May 7, 2012 10:46 AM

    I don’t understand the concept of King’s article. If no one is talking about it, then why write an article on how no one is talking about it?

    Wouldn’t the mention of something that no one is talking about just provoke MORE people to talk about it?

  15. khuxford says: May 7, 2012 10:46 AM

    If the season gets shrunk, all of the players will be in court saying that they signed the contract based on the total compensation promised, no? Meaning the NFL would have to pay them their 20 game (pre & regular season) money for an 18 game year. Chances are, they won’t invoke this as long as any player has a contract that doesn’t insulate the NFL from that threat.

  16. indianaviking says: May 7, 2012 10:47 AM

    This is easy.

    Eliminate two preseason games

    Add ONE more game per team – every team plays one neutral site game per year. (16 total neutral site games)

    4 to 8 in LA
    1 or 2 in London
    San Antonio, Monterrey Mx, Portland, Montreal, Birmingham, Honolulu, etc etc.

    Make this change when the TV contracts are up for renewal, then count the money.

  17. jharmon64 says: May 7, 2012 10:48 AM

    1) Keep the 16 game schedule, no more no less.

    2) Reduce the preseason to 2 games, 3 max

    3) Make all the byes in weeks 9 through 12. Having a bye in week 4 or 5 is ridiculous.

  18. mac3333 says: May 7, 2012 10:49 AM

    NO!!

    I want an 18 game sched. So , No, it shouldnt go away.

  19. bbrophy1 says: May 7, 2012 10:52 AM

    To go to 18 games but not allow any player to play in more than 16 games would be equivalent to declaring that 18 games is detrimental to the player’s health but 16 games is safe enough. I don’t think anyone is going to accept that liability. Expand the season, expand the game day rosters, expand the practice squads and have the independent neurologists on the sidelines.

  20. drunkenjunk says: May 7, 2012 10:53 AM

    Goddell is the biggest piece of trash. He beats the drum about player safety and wants an 18 game season. Why can’t he just go away.

  21. drumsomeone says: May 7, 2012 10:54 AM

    How about a 17 game season? 8 home, 8 Away, 1 Neutral?

  22. rabidbillsfan says: May 7, 2012 10:54 AM

    Your last sentence is true, but what’s the diffrence between that and a pre-Season game? I am a Bills Season ticket holder, included in my package is the 2 Pre-Season games. It’s not so much watching a game without a star player, it’s watching a game that is meaningless. I would still be just as happy to show up to a game in September where Freddie or Stevie aren’t playing, as long as at the end of the day, the game counted for something. If they do this, the Practice squad will have to be expanded, since you will have more players playing, you need more depth in case of injury, and 8 guys won’t cut it. Yeah, there are still street FA’s out there, but thats a true competitve disadvantage if your starting a street FA over a guy who could have been learning your system all season.

  23. tommyribs says: May 7, 2012 10:54 AM

    Exactly: With a soon to be 2,000 former player lawsuit re CTE how can we have new players submit to two more regular season games?

    Peter King (As Usual) is correct.

    As a matter of fact, I am actually very worried about the long term viability of the product. I love this sport, I played it for as long as I could competitively, but these guys are too big and fast now to not create massive damage when they hit.

    My son looks like he will be a natural football player, and he loves watching games with me. I don’t think I want him to play though.

  24. SmurfJuice says: May 7, 2012 10:55 AM

    “…fans who have spent good money for regular-season tickets won’t be thrilled to show up at the stadium and find out that today is the day that Tom Brady won’t play.”

    That’s not funny Florio. Last year, just after the lockout ended, I purchased Panthers @ Colts tickets assuming Peyton would be playing. Why did I assume that? Because Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning, and everyone associated with the NFL office said he was healthy. Did I mention it’s a 2600-mile round trip to Indianapolis, and this game was the only reason to go? (I was the guy in the end zone with the “PAID TO SEE PEYTON//CAME TO SEE CAM” sign)

    Point is, it happens. Paying money to see an icon and he doesn’t play is still more rewarding than paying full price to see a preseason dance recital.

  25. manderson367 says: May 7, 2012 10:56 AM

    I enjoy the preseason games. Gives the fans a chance to spot a young up and comer.
    I don’t enjoy paying full price for a glorified scrimmage.
    What to expand the NFL market? Play the preseason games in non-NFL cities here in the US. Give people that don’t normally have the chance to go to a NFL game a chance to see the game live.

  26. jmsincla says: May 7, 2012 10:57 AM

    If it were to change at all (which I don’t want to see) I’d prefer 3 preseason games and 17 regular season games.

    If they’re going to add games, make it so teams finish with either a winning or losing record, no more of this .500 stuff.

  27. nbcwantsitsmoneyback says: May 7, 2012 10:57 AM

    I think the league should meet the players in the middle with a 17 game season with two bye weeks (as suggested by some internet hack on this site) That gives the league 19 weeks of regular season games with the extra home game being decided by the conference that wins the Pro Bowl ( thus giving the Pro Bowl actual meaning) That fixes 2 of the league’s biggest problems all with one solution..!

  28. kobra71 says: May 7, 2012 10:57 AM

    Just my opinion but I don’t think we need an 18 game schedule and taking away 2 preseason games. I know people get bored with the preseason games but we need the games. I think some players need all 4 games to get ready for the 16 weeks schedule or longer depending on how far they get in the playoffs. Plus I like watching the younger guys play being we may never get to see them play again. Anyway that is just my opinion!

  29. countyk66ers says: May 7, 2012 10:59 AM

    Fans like watching preseason games. Season ticket holders don’t like being forced to pay regular season prices for those games.

  30. nolahxc says: May 7, 2012 11:05 AM

    Easiest solution for adding 2 more weeks of football: 2 more bye weeks for a total of 3 bye weeks. You’ll get 2 more weeks of football to an expanded audience on CBS and FOX, plus 2 more weeks of primetime football on NFLN, NBC, and ESPN. This can also help solve the “Thursday night football/Teams on a short week” condondrum!

    Scheduling will remain sensical, rivalries will remain intact, players will have more time to rest during the season, Goodell can play up the “I’m helping these players by giving them more weeks off” so that he can be the hero, and more teams get primetime placement when they would have otherwise been looked over in the past.

    Plus the fantasy football audience would have to deal with the extra variable in the game.

  31. dontouchmyjunk says: May 7, 2012 11:05 AM

    Count me in the (i guess) minority who likes the idea of an 18 game schedule with a cap of 16 games for each player. It would expand rosters, giving more jobs to more football players. It would add another layer of strategy for coaching staffs. When do I sit my starting QB?

    And lastly, a bugaboo of mine — the nfl season will begin by or before Labor Day like it always used to back in the day. The last decade or so, the season begins too late.

    Labor Day weekend was traditionally the start of NFL football. I miss that instead of being forced to barbeque with the in-laws one last time.

  32. muckfodell says: May 7, 2012 11:05 AM

    Like any business, the Not Fan-friendly League is revenue driven.

    Unless fans stop buying season tickets because they are tired of getting jammed, the status quo will remain.

    As they say, money talks and BS walks…

  33. jbcommonsense says: May 7, 2012 11:06 AM

    Goodell’s wanting an 18 game schedule does not make this a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, he wants it. No, he will not get it. Players would last only 2 years and be ground down to nothing by such a grueling schedule.

  34. kobra71 says: May 7, 2012 11:08 AM

    Two games I would like to see eliminated are the Hall of Fame game. Just have the Hall of Fame Ceremonies and the Pro Bowl. I can’t remember the last time I watched either the hall of fame game or the pro bowl. Just have the pro bowl players recognized in another way other then playing the actual game itself.

  35. drexelvol says: May 7, 2012 11:11 AM

    Thank goodness! For once I agree with Peter King that an 18-game season was the dumbest idea ever.

  36. jjrs89 says: May 7, 2012 11:12 AM

    I like this site a lot better when it’s just reporting the news and the “writer” isnt trying to throw their opinion into every article.

  37. sudz28 says: May 7, 2012 11:15 AM

    It ain’t broken, so don’t ‘fix’ it Goodell!

  38. jeff4life says: May 7, 2012 11:18 AM

    So what we should do is let guys who probably wont make the team go out there and take the beating in a couple of meaningless pre season games so the uber rick players can have a couple games off?

    No logic in that Mike atleast the “stars” are well paid the young guys and rookies are not just meat to be put on the field.

    An 18 game season will be the reality at some point its inevitable as far as I can see but I feel better that the leauge and the players are really loking at player safety in a lot closer of a manner now.

  39. rootintootinnootin says: May 7, 2012 11:20 AM

    Add two additional games and two additional bye-weeks.

    Problem solved.

  40. vdaigglesfan says: May 7, 2012 11:20 AM

    The calendar will dictate if the regular season can expand. You can’t start the season before Labor Day and ideally the NFL would like the Super Bowl President’s Day weekend. Throw in a bye (or two) and there is no room for 18 regular season games if the NFL wants the week off prior to the SB.

  41. mortimeryoung says: May 7, 2012 11:21 AM

    Stop the presses! Florio agrees with Peter King. This never happens… #sarcasm #self-perpetuating #buddysystem

  42. ravensrooster94 says: May 7, 2012 11:22 AM

    ditto to @countyk66ers.

    I’ve said this is on radio stations in Baltimore and in print before. And I’ll say it here again:

    Contrary to what Sheriff Goodell thinks and says, it’s not that season ticket holders don’t like preseason games. We know coaching staffs across the league find them invaluable in getting their players into mental and physical game shape as well as evaluating talent.

    It’s that season ticket holders don’t like being MADE TO BUY PRESEASON GAME TICKETS AT REGULAR SEASON TICKET PRICES.

  43. geauxjay says: May 7, 2012 11:23 AM

    Goddell has zero credibility on player safety as long as he advocates an 18 game schedule.

    __________________________________

    Maybe he could get an 18 game schedule if he suspends Jonathan Vilma for another year.

  44. shaunypoo says: May 7, 2012 11:23 AM

    “the NFL would play 18 regular-season games per team, with no player permitted to play in more than 16 games…”

    Mr. Florio, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  45. champguy81 says: May 7, 2012 11:25 AM

    If season ticket holders are paying, say, $1,000 for a package of 10 games – 2 Preseason, 8 Reg. Season – each ticket is $100 per game.

    Why not make the games different prices? The regular season tickets could be jacked to $115 per game, while the preseason tickets get cut in half to $50 each. This results in a $1,020 full season tab, but I think most season ticket holders (like me) would pay a premium for the meaningful games and not feel so bad dumping the preseason tickets for a loss.

  46. tformation says: May 7, 2012 11:26 AM

    No, keep the 16 game schedule. With all the talk of concussions these days, I can’t see the NFL expanding any time soon.

    The 16 game schedule is part of what makes the NFL great: LESS IS MORE.

    Baseball, hockey & Basketball all need to figure that out. But with greedy owners, that might never happen.

  47. arzcardinals says: May 7, 2012 11:27 AM

    As a season ticket holder
    I want an 18 game schedule. Drop 2 of the preseason games and make them official.

    It’s still the exact same amount of games as played before, but the fans get real games.

    Or

    Stop having us pay full price for preseason games. I pay $100 per ticket and they sell for $5 on ebay.

    Stop acting like you wouldn’t be more interested…

  48. rbirving says: May 7, 2012 11:29 AM

    It isn’t the pre-season games the fans don’t like, it’s paying full price for a game that doesn’t count, that’s what fans don’t like.

    Cut the price in half. Players not allowed to play more than a qtr in the first two, restrict to a half in the last two, and count them as half reguler season games. I.E. 1 point for preseason win, 2 points for regular season.

  49. somekat says: May 7, 2012 11:32 AM

    “Goodell has zero credibility on player safety….”

    Yeah, but the NFLPA does, I mean, obviously it’s their first priority…..oh, yeah, they are defending the bounty players

    The players do! Because they…..wait, I’ve seen more guys come out and defend the bounty player than condemn them.

    Nodoby has credibility on player safety, because nobody deserves it. Not Goodell, not the owners, not the players, not the coaches, not the union.

    They only care when it effects their pockets (owners), jobs (coaches), or checks (players). Besides that, they ALL want the status quo, don’t fool yourselves

  50. superjroch says: May 7, 2012 11:34 AM

    Fans have NOT made it clear that they don’t like preseason football. Fans have made it clear that they don’t like paying regular-season prices for exhibition football. Give a little good will towards the fans who continue to shill out a billion dollars for new stadiums, and cut preseason tickets prices in half.

  51. flybirdhaters27 says: May 7, 2012 11:41 AM

    Goodell needs to go away, permanently.

  52. briguy5 says: May 7, 2012 11:43 AM

    I always thought the players were not paid for the preseason, so why would the NFLPA care if they chopped the preseason schedule in half?

  53. zombiefan1000 says: May 7, 2012 11:46 AM

    Im a lifelong fan of the NFL and I completely disagree with all the contempt for Goodell. Personally, I think he does an excellent job and from what ive read of him, he sounds like a good man. You people who continually bash him should understand the league has grown under his watch and he is taking steps to make sure the game we love is around in 20 yrs. He loves this game just as much as we do so dont think he enjoys tinkering with it.With that said I completely disagree with having an 18 game reg season.It increases the risks for injury and by the time the playoffs roll around the most important players may not be healthy enough to contribute. It should be completely taken off the table. Preseason games should be used to highlight players who are attempting to make the team and therefore the cost of those games should significantly decrease.

  54. godofwine330 says: May 7, 2012 11:48 AM

    I have said this for years. I don’t want it. It is unnecessary, even considering how much I like football. It needs to go away and it needs to go away forever. Stop threatening the players with it. Stop saying that you are doing it for the fans because the league owners benefit (and profit) more than the fans ever will. 65-75% of fans don’t want it no matter what poll see online. The fans that gets screwed are the ones forced to pay for preseason games.

    Maybe fans should have probably fought that years ago. Unfortunately, people haven’t stuck together on a cause since the Rosa Parks inspired bus boycott in 1954. If tons of fans did say, “I am not going to pay until this changed”, tons of fans would gladly take their places in droves and the NFL knows it. But since they aren’t going to subtract or discount 2 preseason games then they should leave it as is and stop being greedy.

  55. arid8her says: May 7, 2012 11:50 AM

    17 game season, neutral site for extra game. LA, London, Mexico, San Antonio, Tokyo, etc. Two bye weeks. Have Super Bowl on the Sunday before Presidents Day.

    Keep permanent NFL team out of Los Angeles. It will fail.

  56. 4thqtrsaint says: May 7, 2012 11:50 AM

    I think an 18 game schedule is stupid. Its perfect the way it is, just make tickets cheaper.

    But can we stop quoting Peter King and acting like because he thinks something and types it, we need to listen.

    Peter King is an over-priveledged idiot who spends at least half a column dedicated to lattes, beer, books and the Red Sox. His column is called Monday Morning QB… It should be called Monday Morning BS. I can promise you, NOBODY cares if he prefers Starbucks coffee over Dunkin Donuts.

  57. cbass59 says: May 7, 2012 11:51 AM

    I love watching football but adding 2 games is a horrible idea. Goodell keep saying the fans don’t want 4 preseason games. While that’s true, it doesn’t mean we all want them replaced with regular season games. Just drop 2 preseason games and don’t add any. I know they will never do that because of money, but please, Roger, we all want it. A majority of fans want to stay at 16.

    Has anyone seen a study on how much the average a NFL career decreased when they went to a 16-game season? I know the average length is now a little over 3 and I’m sure it was longer under the 14-game season. It will go down more with a 18-game season because of the grind of each game.

    I agree that 18 games would be better for fans who just want to see more football. However, players will not last as long. That is a fact. Which means the overall talent will drop (maybe not overtly) but it will drop.

    Stop forcing preseason game on season ticket holders and we’ll see the market work. The only reason they can ask full price is because they condition it to getting reg season tickets.

  58. jpell86 says: May 7, 2012 11:54 AM

    18 game season is a terrible idea. Stupid and greedy.

  59. golonger says: May 7, 2012 11:57 AM

    sorry……an 18 game season is a sure eventuality….why do you think the NFL is pushing the player safety angle so rigorously? The truth is he could care less about the players. Just ask the retired players.

  60. giantsfan621 says: May 7, 2012 12:00 PM

    They should go to a 17 game schedule, with each team playing one game at a neutral site in cities that do not have an NFL team.

  61. diehardtwinsfan says: May 7, 2012 12:04 PM

    Just a thought, but if the NFL wants an 18 game season, they might be able to get something out of the players if they added a second bye week. You’d have two weeks off over the course of the season instead of 1. That adds an additional week of TV revenue too which should give a pretty sizable boost to cap numbers. Players get a second week during the year to rest injuries and you can concentrate them a bit better like this:

    bye 1 = weeks 4 – 9
    bye 2 = weeks 12- 17

  62. dclogicatlast says: May 7, 2012 12:05 PM

    The government needs to ban football. It’s just too violent.

  63. csszrr says: May 7, 2012 12:07 PM

    An 18 game schedule will also eliminate the kickoff. That will be the carrot for the NFLPA. That way the “safety” of the players is kept in consideration.

  64. dvdman123 says: May 7, 2012 12:10 PM

    I’m all for doing away with 2 preseason games and adding 2 regular season games. If you are concerned about player safety then add an extra bye week for recovery time. Now that wasn’t so hard was it?

  65. dirtybird28 says: May 7, 2012 12:18 PM

    So let me get this straight… We’ll say the Pats are tied with the Bills for first place heading into “week 18″, and Brady started his supposed 16 games. Now the Pats would have to try to win out the final two weeks with their back up? Sure, teams will looove that idea when applied to their own all stars.

  66. southpaw2k says: May 7, 2012 12:18 PM

    I get that this is the offseason, so news ebbs and flows, but THIS is still something the league still wants? I know that the bottom dollar is what drives everything in big business like the NFL, but this is absurd. As many have discussed on this thread (and others), Goodell can’t possibly say with a straight face that he’s concerned with player health and safety if he’s also pushing for two more regular season games. Those two concepts are completely incompatible with one another. Seems to me Goodell and co. are being stubborn by even considering something so absurd.

  67. golonger says: May 7, 2012 12:18 PM

    ravensrooster94 – you are wrong…..season ticket holders hate pre-season games….players hate pre-season games……the only individuals that LIKE pre-season games are the NFL execs….because the games are gravy money….players dont get paid much but the tickets still cost the same…what does that mean?…money…money….money

  68. nflovercollegefb says: May 7, 2012 12:24 PM

    joshuavkidd says:
    May 7, 2012 10:36 AM
    Keep beating that drum… “Footballs too violent for some of us so lets ruin it for everyone”! Yay ultra-conservatives!
    —————————————————-
    Dude!

    Those the the ultra left liberals talking, you know, the people who don’t want to keep score in little league because it will hurt the losing teams feelings, the people who want to ban trans-fats in your McDonald’s French Fries as well as salt in restaurants and in general save us from ourselves.

    Just admit it, you believe conservatives are the cause of everything wrong in the world because that’s what it sounds like.

  69. erod22 says: May 7, 2012 12:28 PM

    The purpose of 18 games is so that Goodell can ultimately have each team play two games a year abroad. Period.

    If this kills that numskull idea, than good.

  70. karlpk says: May 7, 2012 12:28 PM

    Should have come under the heading, “Well, duh!” And the increased risk was the argument that should have stopped this idea in its’ tracks last year, but failed to. Why is that?
    Anyhow, I’m all for a return to the 14 game season.

  71. packerfantastic says: May 7, 2012 12:35 PM

    I agree that the talk of an 18-game season should go away. As a fan, I actually love the “meaningless” preseason games. It’s a time to see which bubble players will separate themselves and earn a roster spot. What should also go away is the talk of expanding the game to Europe. It’s hard enough for players to fly from the West Coast to the East Coast. A trip overseas will only dilute the product on the field and perhaps lead to more injuries from fatigues, jet-lagged players. Football is America’s game. Let’s keep it that way. You can build an international audience without actually playing the games in Europe. The NBA has an international following because they include international players, but they don’t play games overseas.

  72. ronin36 says: May 7, 2012 12:37 PM

    I’d rather they add another bye week.

    They could cut one pre-season game, start the regular season a week earlier, and add a second bye week.

    This would give the NFL additional revenue, cut player activity by one week, and keep the number of regular season games the same.

    It could be spun as a player safety benefit as well, allow knicked up players a bye week to help heal up.

    If the NFL really is concerned about safety, they need to bump the 53 man roster to 60 or 70… (and the salary cap along with it).. but that’d cut into profits.

  73. 12strikes says: May 7, 2012 12:42 PM

    If the argument is that more games equals more plays and more plays equal more injuries then the contrast has to be true also
    Less games equal less play equals less injuries. But I don’t see anyone arguing that the NFL schedule should be shortened to reduce injuries.

    When I pay to see any sporting event live I expect to see the stars, but in every sport the stars take nights off. A-rod does not play every game in baseball season, Crosby does not play every game in hockey season, and LeBraun does not play every game in the basketball season. I would think if a survey was done, most “true fans” that attend a game would rather see their team win with a backup playing then lose with a starter playing.

    Go to the 18 game schedules. Mandate that players have to sit 2 games between game 4 and game 14. Also mandate that players have to miss on road and one home game. Also mandate that games missed due to injury COUNT towards the 2 games off. Drop the preseason to 2 games. 1st one is just rookies and anyone that was not on the team last year. The 2nd is full squad.

    We all know it comes down to money. How much will the extra game make, how much of that will go to the players and owners, and how much can the NFL sell the TV rights for.

    Also…. the extra home game that each team would get should NOT be included in the season ticket package. This would open up the possibility for fans that can’t get tickets to actually get tickets and see a game live.

  74. SmurfJuice says: May 7, 2012 12:46 PM

    For years, I’ve wondered why the NFL abandoned the idea of a minor league. Europe wasn’t ideal as a minor league, but the XFL/UFL model is.
    (I do have a point in all this..)

    Why doesn’t the league have a minor system with affiliated teams (San Antonio with Texans, Birmingham with Falcons, Vancouver with Seahawks, etc) where a team can send a Blaine Gabbert or Mark Sanchez to develop for a year, adjust to professional football life or rehab back to health?

    With this minor league system in place, you could take the four preseason games and play them as mixed-squad games in the minors. For instance, the Seahawks & Vancouver rosters versus the Bills & Toronto team. Interest in the minor teams would soar locally, the players would enjoy the change of atmosphere, and you could keep the shenanigans that associate with the preseason as it is by mixing the minors and the NFL rosters.

  75. geetee52 says: May 7, 2012 12:50 PM

    What the owners want is to keep the revenue from the preseason games..and the fans want the season to either last longer or the preseason games to go away.

    Why not give every team 2-3 bye weeks…and extend the season by 2 weeks? The owners get 2 extra weeks of TV revenues…the fans enjoy a longer season…and the the ripoff called preseason gets trimmed down to a more practical 2 games.

  76. wecomefromthestars says: May 7, 2012 12:50 PM

    Good article, Mike. The intelligent fans- of which there are many- are not buying the outright lies that Goodell has been trying to push down our throats. We do not want 18 games. The Pre-season is irrelevant, in this matter. Trying to link the two in this conversation is redder than the reddest herring.

  77. xx4zu1 says: May 7, 2012 12:52 PM

    The NFL is claiming that they are putting safteey first then the go ahead and make every team play a Thursday game after playing on Sunday. Anyone who has had an injury knows it’s pretty easy to aggravate that injury in the first week let alone 4 days later. Give the teams playing Thursday their bye week before the game.

  78. nfl1818 says: May 7, 2012 12:52 PM

    Fans dont like preseason games bc greedy owners overcharge for them as part of ticket packages. If the price was fair for watching “a 60 min officiated practice,” they would not complain. I am assuming that coaches like the 4 preseason games and feel like it puts a better product on the field for the reg season. To say that you could just swap out 2 preseason games and swap in 2 reg season games is absurd. You would remove the preseason games where rookies and FAs get to compete and starters see little action, and obviously add 2 games where starters play most the game.

  79. pongonfl says: May 7, 2012 12:59 PM

    This was always a horrible idea.

  80. hedleykow says: May 7, 2012 1:03 PM

    Las Vegas will figure out how to put up a line for every game the NFL decides to play, regardless of how many games are played or how many concussions are suffered in the process. Isn’t that all that really matters?

  81. golonger says: May 7, 2012 1:05 PM

    Anyone saying two extra games = decreased safety is totally incorrect and looking at it from the wrong perspective. If Goodell can succeed in “making the game safer”, it would mean 2 extra games WOULDN’T be unsafe….get it people!???

  82. golonger says: May 7, 2012 1:07 PM

    wecomefromthestars – sorry, it IS related. The NFL doesnt want to decrease their revenue. They are totally linked. The NFL wants to decrease the pre-season to 2 games but doesnt want to incur the lost revenue. Two extra games would help recoup that lost revenue! They ARE linked.

  83. wiley16350 says: May 7, 2012 1:15 PM

    I really don’t think we have to worry about an 18 game season. I said before and i’ll say it again. The 18 game season was used as a negotiating tactic. The reason there hasn’t been much talk about it is the CBA is signed now. If the players weren’t going to lower their demands and take a smaller size of the revenue then the owners would have had to find a way to bring in more revenue. So they threatened the players with an 18 game regular season so that the players would make the same amount of money but have to play 2 extra games. It was an excellent bargaining chip and one of the few that the league had.

  84. drewsg says: May 7, 2012 1:19 PM

    Would an 18 game schedule work with an extra bye week? just thinking outside the box

  85. alonestartexan says: May 7, 2012 1:24 PM

    I wonder if Pete Rozelle had to deal with all the “backlash” from idiot fans and even stupider media members when he raised the games played in a season from 12 to 14 in 1961, or even more so, when he raised it from 14 to 16 in 1978.

    It’s time.

  86. patsfiend says: May 7, 2012 1:26 PM

    NO on 18 games. I love football as much as anyone, and I don’t want to see this. The season is long and dangerous enough.

  87. alonestartexan says: May 7, 2012 1:34 PM

    patsfiend…

    Merrill Hoge is going to go on a massive rant about you spreading misinformation!

  88. vader7176 says: May 7, 2012 1:37 PM

    You guys don’t get it. It won’t be Godell’s greed that will push for18 games. It will be the owner’s greed that will push for 18 games.

  89. wetpaperbag3 says: May 7, 2012 1:45 PM

    The league should just have 2 preseason games and two scrimmages. Sure, scrimmages aren’t sexy like an actual game (meaningless or not), but it allows coaches to properly evaluate every position/player in a more controlled environment. And it cuts down on the full speed injuries that an actual game introduces.

    I know that only hardcore fans will appreciate scrimmages than the casual fan, but if we’re talking about player safety, preserving the current number of games, and continue bringing in revenue, having at least two scrimmages is the only solution that makes any sense.

  90. mylionsroaring says: May 7, 2012 1:46 PM

    Charge less for preseason games and the stands would be filled. Then people who don’t have the money to go to a regular season NFL game could still get the experience of filled stadium. Everyone would win, as the players would play harder, the owners would make more money, and the fans would get a chance that might not otherwise get.

  91. hedleykow says: May 7, 2012 1:55 PM

    For those of you who are against union representation and are also happy the players are prevailing in their fight against the added games, you are living in a world of make-believe.

  92. suhnum1fan says: May 7, 2012 1:59 PM

    18 game schedule of flag football sounds good to me

  93. nfl fan says: May 7, 2012 2:06 PM

    It’s a crime that the NFL requires season ticket holders to pay for two home pre-season games. Eliminate 1 home pre-season game per team (2 total) or play 18 games to improve the quality.

    Sorry, I’m not that concerned about the players position when I’m paying $140 per seat plus a parking pass ($25) for tickets to a pre-season game that I can’t give away for free.

    I don’t need 18 games, but give me something worth paying for!

  94. braddavery says: May 7, 2012 2:13 PM

    I love how everyone totes current players as “bigger and stronger” than the players of the past, but wanting them to play two more games per-season (while abolishing two pre-season games) is just ludicrous and out of the question.

  95. golonger says: May 7, 2012 2:55 PM

    “Then people who don’t have the money to go to a regular season NFL game could still get the experience of filled stadium. Everyone would win, as the players would play harder, the owners would make more money, and the fans would get a chance that might not otherwise get.”

    This is ridiculous….the players are NOT playing harder in pre-season games, sorry!

  96. fwippel says: May 7, 2012 3:08 PM

    Oh, so because Peter King said it, that makes it true? Sorry, Peter, but the 18 game schedule is coming, sooner or later, like it or not.

    Why? Because at the cost of tickets, season ticket holders don’t want to be charged top price for meaningless games, and owners don’t want to lose money.

    Honestly, while I respect Peter King’s analysis of games on the field, his take on events off the field, along with his occassional tangent into politics, make me question his real world intelligence. Remember, this is the same guy that thought John Edwards would make a good President.

    I know it’s conventional wisdom, in the light of Junior Seau’s suicide, to think that the NFL needs to dial back it’s product. However, that thought process exists only amongst the media. Americans love the NFL, and they want more of it. Roger Goodell, to his credit, understands that far better than Peter King.

    I can’t help but wonder if this wasn’t posted here just because King also works for NBC. Otherwise, it’s just another comment in another article.

  97. golonger says: May 7, 2012 3:23 PM

    Also, all you nit wits that think the NFL NEEDS 4 pre-season games to evaluate talent..baloney.
    First of all,no evaluation is done in the last pre-season game anyway. Any talent evaluate can be done in controlled practice/srimmage situations. Most teams are only making a decion on 4-5 guys during the pre-season anyway. They already know for the most part who they are going with. Yes, the notion of a free agent having a superb audition and making the team is a cool idea but…doesnt happen very often. It all comes down to the money…period

  98. Vegas Guy says: May 7, 2012 3:55 PM

    There is a simple answer here:

    STOP CHARGING SEASON TICKET HOLDERS FULL PRICE FOR PRESEASON (read: practice) GAMES.

    There is no reason for doing it, the owners do it just because they can. And it’s a deterrent to having Season Tickets.

    Half the price of the preseason tickets and Season Ticket holders would be fine with it and this would go away.

    (A FORMER – 43 years – Season Ticket holder.. although this was only one of my reasons.. the big one was that Cincinnati has a horrible owner)

  99. alonestartexan says: May 7, 2012 4:22 PM

    I’m kinda sick of people trying to ruin a game because of “players safety”.

    When you’re 5 or 6 years old and your parents sign you up for peewee football, they sign a waiver that claims there could be injury and/or even death.

    When you hit high school and you decide to play football, you sign a waiver telling you of the harm, injury, and even death involved.

    If/When you decide to play college football, SAME THING.

    These guys play a game for usually more money in one season than most people will make in their working lifetime. These guys have mostly been playing since peewee’s, they KNOW the dangers of playing football and they do it willingly, Why do you people CARE that players are getting concussions/injuries ? They do it voluntarily. If I worked for a steele mill and knew that a vat of molten liquid metal was dangerous and could kill me, and I got injured or killed anyway, Would you people care ? Why aren’t you protesting police stations or the oil industry ? Those are dangerous, voluntary jobs too !

  100. bleed4philly says: May 7, 2012 10:50 PM

    They should even reduce the 16 game schedule, just add an extra week of playoffs.

  101. ezmagic says: May 8, 2012 1:45 AM

    I’m down for extra week and wildcard team for the playoffs. A lot of teams have been robbed of a playoff seed by the NFC west winner the last decade.
    Or have 2 bye weeks in 18 game season.

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