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.