The 18-game schedule is like the NFL’s hole card, the thing that won’t go away, that might be “on the table” from time to time, though few expect it to happen.
But it’s interesting to see how those in the league address the topic, and how the view of scheduling changes over time.
In an interview with the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Packers president Mark Murphy again said he didn’t expect to see an 18-game slate.
“I think with all the concerns about the health and safety of players, it’s hard to justify,” Murphy said. “To go from 16 to 18 regular-season (games) would be a lot more wear and tear. It would be additional games for your starters.”
Murphy has made similar comments about the regular season before. But while he previously said he could get behind a 16-game regular season with a two-game preseason, his latest remarks made it appear he’s realized that’s not happening either.
Murphy, who serves on the league’s management council executive committee, competition committee and health and safety committee, said there were a “couple issues there” with cutting the preseason in half.
“You’ve got loss of revenue — you don’t have much TV revenue from that, but you do have ticket revenue,” Murphy said. “And then the other big issue is being able to really evaluate and develop young players. Taking away those two game opportunities, especially since we have so many fewer practices [in training camp], . . . you don’t block and tackle [in practice] so the games are really important in terms of evaluating.”
Murphy suggested that one possibility was building an extra bye week in between the end of the preseason and the start of the regular season. But that’s already happening in a sense, with every team closing the preseason on next Thursday, to clear the weekend.
Either way, it’s clear the league realizes there’s some degree of problem with the current exhibition product, but isn’t wild about giving away money to fix it.