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Mark Murphy drives another nail in the coffin of the 18-game season

mark-murphy Getty Images

In yet another sign that the owners have surrendered in their battle with the players over an 18-game season, one of the executives who was once among the most vocal supporters of expanding the regular season now says the NFL should stick with 16 games for good.

Mark Murphy, the Packers president who used to be the guy the owners were putting on NFL Network to make the case that the regular season should be “enhanced,” now says the 18-game season would be too hard on the players’ bodies.

Now, to be honest with you, I couldn’t support a move to 18,” Murphy said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I just think with all the focus on the player health and safety, it would be really hard to do that.”

When the NFL was pressing the case for an expansion to 18 games, it offered the players a deal: Agree to play two more games in the regular season, and we’ll cut down the preseason to two games. Now Murphy says the NFL should cut the preseason to two games while keeping the regular season at 16 games.

“I would be in support of a move to two and 16,” Murphy said. “Reduce the number of preseason games. The challenge there obviously is you’re losing revenue. On the other end, do you really have enough time to develop younger players if you only have two preseason games? Those are the things we have to look at. What kinds of things can we do to make sure the game is safe as possible?”

Adding two more games to the regular season doesn’t make the game as safe as possible, and as a result, that’s not going to happen. On that battle, the players won and the owners lost.

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30 Responses to “Mark Murphy drives another nail in the coffin of the 18-game season”
  1. paulnoga says: Jul 24, 2012 6:05 PM

    Murphy is not an owner. the 31 Owners don’t respect him as an owner. They only use him if he fits their purpose, as before. The 31 Owners do not care about his opinion.

  2. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jul 24, 2012 6:06 PM

    How about keep the four preseason games but reduce the prices to a level that makes them worth paying for? You’ll lose a little revenue, but it won’t be noticed when the next TV contract is signed.

  3. marionbarber24isgod says: Jul 24, 2012 6:11 PM

    Create some kind of magic pill that will allow players to go an entire 32 game season with only the risk of injury from a 16 game season…..duh

  4. skinsrock says: Jul 24, 2012 6:19 PM

    MORE PLAYOFF GAMES… I don’t get it… Everyone wants to say, “oh we don’t want half of the teams making the playoffs, cause it will water them down… come on… 8 teams / side, forget the bye week, home field advantage is good enough… Wouldn’t you want your team to go in as a #8 & try to knock off the NFC/AFC regular season champs? So what if their 7-9… Didn’t Seattle in 2010 win their division with that record in recent years & then knocked off the defending Super Bowl Champs (New Orleans) ?

  5. irishnativeson says: Jul 24, 2012 6:25 PM

    Wildcard teams that go to the Superbowl play four more games a year than teams that don’t make it to the playoffs. Number one seeds play three more games if they win out and there isn’t one player sitting at home who wouldn’t change places with a playoff team. TWO

  6. turtlehut says: Jul 24, 2012 6:39 PM

    Jimmy Irsay and the other owners think we are stupid by charging $126 / game with a season ticket, but some of us can do math, and see that it is really about $160 / game.

    Maybe they learned from congress who expect to hide 50% of our Social Security & Medicare taxes as an “Employers Contribution” so we do not know what it is really costing us.

    People who can afford a season ticket also own calculators!

  7. greatminnesotasportsmind says: Jul 24, 2012 6:50 PM

    16 game season is perfect, every game means something. 18 games means every game means that much less. 8 teams in each conference for the playoffs is too many.

    It’s a matter of time before we play 4 pre season games, followed by an 18 game schedule where every team makes the playoffs. Then each division regular season champion plays the 4th place team and the 2nd and 3rd place teams play each other. The winners then meet for the division playoff title. The the playoff division champions play each other in a set of quarter final games. The winners then play in the conference championship with the winners finally meeting in the Super Bowl.

    4 pre season
    18 regular season
    2 division playoff games
    2 conference playoffs games
    1 super bowl

    That’s right 27 games = $$$$$$$

  8. mrregular12 says: Jul 24, 2012 6:51 PM

    Here’s a simple solution.

    Decrease preseason.
    Increase length of regular season, but don’t increase number of games. Instead, increase bye weeks.
    Lose revenue from preseason games, but gain revenue from more weeks of televised games, and increase player safety by giving them more rest.
    Win-Win.

  9. Herb Deluxe says: Jul 24, 2012 7:00 PM

    It is PERFECT the way it is. The NFL is a league of fours: four downs, four teams in each divison, four divisions of each conference, four quarters, 16 games (four-squared). It doesn’t need tweaking, the fools who are running the NFL into the ground do.

    But at least Goodell didn’t spend a year undermining the preseason even though he knew 18 games was a long-shot. OH WAIT…

  10. freedomispopular says: Jul 24, 2012 7:00 PM

    Finally a voice of reason.

  11. sabatimus says: Jul 24, 2012 7:01 PM

    Hey skins: the fact that a sub-.500 team made the playoffs is completely absurd.

  12. Deb says: Jul 24, 2012 7:25 PM

    Leave the schedule as it is–four preseason games, 16 regular-season games, and the 12-team playoffs. It’s tough enough for players to make it through that schedule in one piece. If anything, I wish the owners would expand the active roster so teams could give their starters more breaks during games. That might help cut down on the number of in-season injuries.

  13. waldoampere says: Jul 24, 2012 7:40 PM

    The season and league is perfectly set up as is. Please don’t change anything, especially for the sake of billionaires making more money.

  14. jrmbadger says: Jul 24, 2012 7:55 PM

    paulnoga says:
    Jul 24, 2012 6:05 PM
    Murphy is not an owner. the 31 Owners don’t respect him as an owner. They only use him if he fits their purpose, as before. The 31 Owners do not care about his opinion.
    ======================

    Really? You’ve personally spoken to all 31 owners about this?

  15. bushwoodcc says: Jul 24, 2012 7:56 PM

    I was going to post the same thing…but since you beat me to ot mrregular12 I am just going to copy and paste yours…Add a bye week, lose one preseason game and start the season on Labor Day weekend so we can have football going at the cookouts!!! Hey, you can even kickoff the season prime time on a Saturday night special! Not only an extra week of televised football, but an extra game on Saturday for that lost preseason revenue.

    mrregular12 says:Jul 24, 2012 6:51 PM

    Here’s a simple solution.

    Decrease preseason.
    Increase length of regular season, but don’t increase number of games. Instead, increase bye weeks.
    Lose revenue from preseason games, but gain revenue from more weeks of televised games, and increase player safety by giving them more rest.
    Win-Win.

  16. geefan1 says: Jul 24, 2012 8:01 PM

    Well it they just simulate all the games on Madden then no one would ever have to get hurt. I’m all for making the game safer, but that should not a reason to play fewer games. 2 + 18 works for me.

  17. bushwoodcc says: Jul 24, 2012 8:25 PM

    To those posters that advised expanding the roster…another good call.

  18. raidadon says: Jul 24, 2012 9:06 PM

    Common sense Wins!!!

  19. atthemurph says: Jul 24, 2012 9:15 PM

    paulnoga says:
    Jul 24, 2012 6:05 PM
    Murphy is not an owner. the 31 Owners don’t respect him as an owner. They only use him if he fits their purpose, as before. The 31 Owners do not care about his opinion.
    _________________________________

    Yeah, why would the owners care about the opinion of the guy who runs the most successful franchise in the league, and is the only guy who has actually played the game (except for Richardson who played briefly) as well and has the respect of the players?

    Yeah, none of the owners respect this guy….

  20. cooklynn17 says: Jul 24, 2012 9:54 PM

    if they leave it at 16, then start the season 2 or 3 weeks later in the year so the Superbowl can be played on Presidents weekend and fans can have the following Monday off from work. an awesome idea.

  21. winninitall says: Jul 24, 2012 10:39 PM

    I’m with thankheavenfornumberseven, preseason prices should be lowered for season ticket holders. It’s basiclly a $480 (2Jets and 2Giants season tickets + parking) loss for me each year since I don’t bother going to preseason games or can’t get anyone to pay for those games. I know preseason is important, but paying full value for preseaon and more for post season is a JOKE!!

  22. defscottyb says: Jul 24, 2012 10:39 PM

    Mark Murphy was a nice player for the Redskins, don’t know much about him as an nfl executive.

  23. SparkyGump says: Jul 24, 2012 10:55 PM

    The fact the NFL only has a 16 game season is what clearly sets itself apart from other sports; EVERY GAME COUNTS. In baseball, you could go 0-16 and still win the world series. In the NFL, not so much.

  24. milkcan44 says: Jul 24, 2012 11:19 PM

    I have never understood what is wrong with 3 preseason and 17 regular.

  25. clayjayhawk says: Jul 24, 2012 11:37 PM

    paulnoga
    You got to be 1st for the 1st time in your life and all you could do is make a stupid comment. Your dumber than a Viking!

  26. 4evrnyt says: Jul 25, 2012 12:44 AM

    “I just think with all the focus on the player health and safety, it would be really hard to do that.”

    He isn’t saying he doesn’t want to do it, he really is just saying that because there is so much news and publicity about player safety he’d never win the vote of public opinion on moving to an 18 game season. The league would be played off as the bad guys and two faced on the subject of player safety so they know it’s a losing battle.

  27. mwindle1973 says: Jul 25, 2012 5:31 AM

    I see why the owners want it. It would increase TV revenue by 12.5%. Just doesn’t seem like there is a way to balance health & safety, injuries, and a long enough camp to prepare rookies and vets that are new to the team for the season.

  28. apm says: Jul 25, 2012 11:34 AM

    But the players allowed Roger Goodell to have sole authority to suspend players. So the players lost. Guess that means everyone lost. Which means, everyone wins, somehow.

  29. chi01town says: Jul 25, 2012 9:26 PM

    This Guy is NUTS… 18 games for what? You dont change the pre season the players need to prepair to play good football.. Get use to a new system an coaches need pre season to find STARS of the game. More games will shortin the careers of all players.. The 16 games in 17 weeks is enough. It aint broke SO DONT FIX IT

  30. pack13queens0 says: Jul 30, 2012 12:25 AM

    I wanted 18 game season. Can’t get enough football, it’s the only sport besides Nascar worth watching.

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