Tom Brady, Ray Lewis speak about "enhanced season"

The league undoubtedly sees the “enhanced season” as an opportunity to grow the financial pie that currently is shared with the players.  On the surface, then, the players should support the notion of creating more opportunities to generate more money.

But it’s not that simple.  Adding two regular-season games in place of two preseason games results in 20 total non-playoff games, but it results in greater exposure by starters, who play sparingly in the preseason, to potential injury.

And so the players are cautious.  Two of the higher-profile members of the NFL fraternity have chimed in on the matter.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football,” Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said.  “If fans want to show their love, they should let everyone know that we are not machines.  I’ve been blessed to play this game for so long, but it’s time to start thinking about what legacy and impact changes like this will leave for the players of tomorrow and us after we retire.

“I know our fans may not like preseason games and I don’t like all of them, but swapping two preseason games for two end-of-season games — when players already play hurt — comes at a huge cost for the player and the team.”

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has taken a more active role in union matters, spoke on the situation as well.  “I’ve taken part in several postseason runs where we have played 20 games,” Brady said.  “The long-term impact this game has on our bodies is well documented.  Look no further than the players that came before we did.”

And so the notion of an 18-game season isn’t something that the players will automatically accept, even if the current CBA already authorizes it.  The fact that the league is now pushing the concept aggressively suggests that perhaps the NFL possibly hopes to use this issue as a way to get the general public on the side of management.

55 responses to “Tom Brady, Ray Lewis speak about "enhanced season"

  1. I know I am alone in this from a fans prescriptive but I am against it. The Super Bowl already seems to go to the healthiest team and not the best in the regular season this would just enhance this.
    Those who have just played this sport in High School like I did feel the effects of playing this sport. I don’t know how some these guys like Ray Lewis have played as long as they have.
    It would be great to have the extra games but I feel teams would be a shell of themselves at the end of the season far too often.

  2. my knee jerk reaction says tom bradys just being a pussy but really, hes right. by the end of a 20 game playoff run, youre battered up and hurt and sore and tired. the only way to ensure that any player with a career of (on average) 10 years sees 20 more games total, there has to be some incentive to play those games through pain and possible injury.
    so i guess like 5 million added on per year ought to do it, right? nah, maybe 8 million?

  3. Don’t go with the longer season–part of what makes the NFL great is that there are only 16 real games plus playoffs. It’s comparable to the difference between the Super Bowl and whatever they do with UFC. How many UFC championships are they up to now? 88? 364? Who knows? It’s not as meaningful if you have 4 or 13 or 25 per year. (I know nothing about UFC so I’m sure none of this is accurate, but my point remains.) What happens when 18 isn’t enough? Move it to 20? Extending the NFL season will only lead to the watering-down of the NFL. Plus if i were a player I’d agree with Brady and Lewis.

  4. The NFL should just keep 2 preseason games and 17 week season rather than a 19 week season. I see that as being fair.

  5. if lasting longer than 4 hours please consult medical direction immediately

  6. @BuckyBadger
    Believe me you’re not alone on that opinion I definitively agree with you.

  7. I don’t really care if they take away the preseason games and make them regular games. I just f-ing tired of paying full price for the two preseason tickets that are part of season ticket holders packages when I don’t even get a 1/4 of a real game. That is what needs to be fixed!! I hate to say it but Brady is right on this (yes HOOBY he is still a pussy) If they make this move I get more for my money upfront but come the end of the year we all suffer with a less quality product on the field.

  8. My gosh, a current player mentioned the former players and the wear and tear that their bodies went thru? So NOW will they give a little back to the ones who went before them and allow them to live their multi-millionaire lifestyles?

  9. If anything the league should SHORTEN the season by two games. The owners greed shall prove their own undoing.
    I hope the players take a stand on this issue. There won’t be a 2011 season anyway so they have time to mount their case against expanding the regular season. They should also refuse to play games in England and Mexico…

  10. Bigger Rosters, Bigger cap, and sit the stars out for the first couple of weeks. By mid-august we are ready to watch nobodies compete for roster spots. It might be fun for those games to count.

  11. I am completely against it. There is no way they should go to 18 games. The effects of time on the current 14 game players is pretty big, and it’s gotten worse for the 16 game players since 77′. There’s a reason they play one game a week, playing against such talent every week kills your body. I think we will see many shortened careers of some really great players. You have to really listen to these guys, especially coming from Ray Lewis, who by most NFL fan opinions, is in fact, a machine.

  12. Hey. If they add 2 more games they will, more than likely, add on about 10 more players to the team for back up. 2 more games a year can mean more experience for crappy teams and more experience for 2nd stringers on a good team. Not to mention the games will actually MEAN SOMETHING and all players will play thier best. Well, something like that.
    I just hope they get compensated for it. Hey if you dont like it quit and play basketball! Oh. Sorry. That is a dieing sport. My bad.
    End of Line.

  13. As a fan of course my first reaction is ‘give me more games’, but somewhere there is a tipping point. Injuries already play a huge role in what teams get into and succeed in the playoffs, and the difference of having an extra month off between seasons is surely a big part of why so many teams are not only unable to repeat as champions, but even simply make the playoffs in consecutive seasons.
    To me the odd thing is this: why is the NFL pushing so hard for two extra games? They probably make about the same amount of money with those preseason games, as they force season ticket holders to to buy two tickets for full price – while players do not receive their salary for those four games. The owners would probably make more net profit leaving the schedule as it is now. My guess is that they’re using the topic as a pawn; they’ll give in to the NFLPA on the 18-game schedule as long as they get a concession back from the players in return.

  14. Bucky Badger, I don’t know where you get that you are alone in thinking that.
    100% of the people I’ve talked to have said that a 16-game season is perfect the way it is and there is no reason whatsoever to add 2 more games.
    It is a completely idiotic and pointless idea, which only serves to further show what stupid/greedy/out of touch IDIOTS are running this league into the ground.

  15. I don’t wanna hear players crying about playing 2 extra games. NFL players get paid millions of dollars and fans spend Billions of dollars on tickets and players jerseys, and cable bills to watch these guys play on T.V If we as fans wanna watch you MACHINES play 2 extra games…then got dammit your gonna play 2 extra games!!!! As much money as these guys make COME ON!!! it’s not like back in the good ol days when players had to work a actual job during the offseason to support their families. NFL players today are soft and get paid too much money to complain about 2 extra games. With that being said I would rather keep the league the way it is now.

  16. Ray Lewis is right in saying “we are not machines,” because Bret Favre is the only actual machine at work in the NFL. Fear not, though, dear Ray, a free gurney ride to the sidelines is included in your destiny as a non-machine.

  17. I’m against the addition of games. First all the points of additional injury, the Super Bowl being played by walking wounded are all valid. Now for fans, preseason is horrible. Can’t argue that point. BUT I think coaches love it. Look, if you only have 2 preseason games then the cuts will be fast and furious. Many players will be kept by name and reputation only. I think the 4 game preseason allows some players to make a roster and produce a couple of gems that a 2 game preseason would not allow. Plus I think the players need the extra reps more then they let on.

  18. Of course, it’s also possible that the NFL is pushing this as something they’ve already been given for CBA negotiation purposes. That way, in order to negotiate this out of the CBA if the players are against it, the union will have to give up something they’ve already been given in the last CBA in return. Give up the 18 game season for players giving up some of their percentage in revenues, perhaps?

  19. These quotes totally swayed me. I am now agains’t 2 more regular season games, however I am for dropping 2 preseaon games.

  20. I played in a 14 game season for my high school along with 2 preseason games. I was in the best shape out of my entire team, and I was still worn down. I couldn’t tell you how many times me and my teammates would talk about how dragged down we were the last 2-3 weeks. That’s high school. I can’t imagine the NFL or the college level. It’s not all about the money; the players’ health must be taken into consideration. 16 games is enough, though I would love to see more. Looking back at my own career, I would have loved a 12 game regular season or something like that, but it’s just not feasible.

  21. I think HC may be right. It’s entirely possible the 18 game schedule is being held out as a negotiating ploy in the CBA discussions.
    I think a 18 game schedule would stink. It’s too much to ask of modern football players. 16 games is plenty.
    The real issue is the owners charging full price for pre-season games. That stinks. But who is going to change that? No one. They aren’t going to reduce the price and fans will keep complaining, so it all leads back to discussions of “let’s just make it a 18 game schedule so we can justify full price”.

  22. Think about it like this: Say a very solid, long career in the NFL is about 10 years. If you play for 10 years, you’ve had a very good career, and even if you get hurt in year 10, nobody will say your career was tragically cut short by injury. This coming up season, (counting ’08, but not ’00), Tom Brady will have 10 seasons of playing in the NFL and risking injury on every play (he obviously risked it in ’08, didn’t in ’00…well, not really).
    He has also played 18 postseason games. That’s more than a FULL SEASON of additional wear and tear that he’s put on his body. It may not be a big deal for a guy like Tony Romo, who has only played in 4 playoff games in 5 years (which averages out to about an extra half season over 10 years), but Brady has ALREADY played an extra season and then some (excluding what he’ll get this year – at least another 2-3 playoff games).
    To ask the winners to already play extra seasons over the course of their careers (in playoff games, nonetheless)….and now on top of that, play longer seasons…it’s a bit unfair.
    If they were to adjust the salary structure to automatically guarantee payments to playoff teams (more than the $15 grand or whatever they get now – I’m talking like a million bucks per game or more), I’m sure no one would complain, but come on.

  23. I find it interesting that these greedy multi-millionaires now point out former players as examples. What the hell has Tom Brady, or Ray Lewis done for retired players that now can’t pay their medical or any other bills? Well the answer is nothing. If Mike Ditka or the very few others that advocate for struggling former players made these comments, not a word would I utter. I don’t care if these jerks have to play 50 games.
    Some people played this game and had to work in the offseason, because they did not make the millions these whiners do. You get paid a kings randsom to play a kids game during a huge recession. Got a tip for you Tom and Ray. Shut the hell up, and play the game.

  24. Let’s not stop at 18. I want more football. Let’s go 20 regular season games and give each player a mandatory 4 games off. It would make for some interesting tactical decisions as to when to give a guy like Peyton Manning games off, require an expanded roster generate a pile of revenue and give us another month of football. Teams could rest dinged up players, groom backups etc… Win for players, fans, and owners.

  25. I’d be fine with sticking with a 16 game season if they didn’t charge full price for preseason games and you are forced to buy those tickets if you are a season ticket holder.

  26. Tom Brady, if you don’t want to play, don’t. i’m sure some scrub will love leading the pats in 2,4,8 or all 18 games you don’t want to play.

  27. How bout take away 2 preseason games and allow 2 more teams from each conference into the playoffs. There would be no byes for the conference leaders, but they would play the lowest seeded teams. And maybe it’ll put to sleep the yearly question of whether a bye week is helpful ( healing injuries ) or hindering ( losing momentum? ).
    This wouldn’t make the season longer but it will give us 4 more game to watch in the postseason I believe.

  28. Remove two Preseason games in favor of one more regular season game. Also add two more playoff seeds to each conference for increased revenue to offset the loss of the preseason game.

  29. What case against an 18-game season can possibly be made? It’s not unfair to ask them to play even more games – they can handle it.

  30. Ok, this highlights the hypocrisy of this site perfectly. We can’t have an OT Super Bowl where one team wins by the old rules. Per Florio, it will “ruin the Super Bowl”. We can’t have a cold weather Super Bowl location because bad weather will, again per Florio, “ruin the Super Bowl”. But we CAN add two regular season games so we can watch Peyton Manning’s backup go against Drew Brees backup because the starters got hurt playing way too many games. That’s good for the Super Bowl? Do you ever think, Florio, or do you just talk out your ass 24/7?

  31. IF there are going tgo be 18 week seasons, please God slap a second bye week in there. These guys need a break. It’s not like adding an extra 2 games to the NBA or NHL.

  32. 4 preseason games is outrageous. As a season ticket holder I hate them and I have to buy 2 of them each year. Anyone who feels bad for someone making over a million bucks a year doesn’t understand the question. These guys are filthy rich because we buy tickets and jerseys and we watch the TV stations that the franchises sell the TV rights to. Asking for two less BS preseason games isn’t outrageous.
    It’s football, it hurts, and when the rules change so does the strategy….everyone would be on a level playing field at the beginning of the season. Brady got leveled in the first game of the season, what difference would two extra games at the end have made? Grow a pair and earn your living.

  33. Increase the roster to 57, give the players an extra bye week to rest and do this thing. It’s the best thing going.

  34. Belichick For President – I think a second bye week is a given in a longer schedule.
    east96street – you’re assuming the extra games will mean more use of backup players – don’t make that assumption, as the extra games can derail a division lead.

  35. I am another vote for no more than 16 games. Really the injuries ruin the game- and with 18 game seasons- teams like the colts will stop playing for real even earlier when they wrap up a playoff spot in week 13-

  36. I agree with the second bye week if they’re gonna extend the season.
    However, here’s what I would do if I were gonna add two more games: I’d keep the NFC apart from the AFC. With 18 games, you could play every team in your conference. It would make the standings easier to calculate & it would make the Super Bowl really special.

  37. It is something some of the fans won’t accept either. Two more games of mediocre football. Two less games to look at rookies. Two less games for the different strings to practice. The owners should drop the price of the preseason games, if they have the fans in mind. More Football = Less Football

  38. Why don’t they “take a look” at the some of the real-world jobs out there such as construction where most workers spend 40+ years deteriorating their bodies (for much less than the pittance Lewis and Brady are forced to accept) and while all retire by 65, most will be dead by 70.
    “The NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) reported in 2005 that 1,224 construction workers died on the job over the course of one year, making the construction industry the most dangerous industry in the country.”
    Do you think guys like Ray Lewis or Tom Brady could man up and do 40 hours a week on a dark, dank, dirty job site for $20/hr for 42 years? Do you think these “tough” guys would have the mental fortitude to grind it out through the heat and the cold if nobody was cheering or patting them on the back everytime they did what they were supposed to do?
    I want to be a fan of these guys, I do, but every time one of them opens their mouth and bitches and whines about all the abuse they take and how little money they make for playing a GAME, I care a lot less about them.

  39. since when is it the responsablity of current employees o take care of former employees,how many of these posters[the oness bashing tom and ray] are kicking money back to the frie guy thhat had the job before they did,i get so sick of some fans that use the amount of money these guys make to say shut up and do it,dont complain
    yees the players back then were only making 4500 a year,but milk was only 10 cents,gas,25 cents,get over it,they make alot of money in todays nfl,doesnt mean you cann make them play 25 games a year,have them come in year round for offseason otas,bunch of crap

  40. It ain’t broke.
    They should reduce the preseason to one organized scrimmage plus two preseason games and keep the regular season at 16 games.
    Yeah, the owners lose some money. Boo hoo. We’re all losing money in this economy.
    I know, I’m dreaming.

  41. its amusing that ray lewis thinks the fans should show their love for the players, and their humanity, as if that outweighs fans interest in football…
    bottom line ray-ray, and others, we really don’t “love” you,
    we love the game….just like you don’t “love” the stripper as a person, so much as you love accessible female body parts. we may like the packaging those female parts come in, we may enjoy the way they are presented, we may even choose up favorites amongst the various presentations….
    but it isn’t the human, aka non- machine/female body parts and packaging we love, and from what little we know of strippers and football players as people, we may not like them very much as people.
    get out their and dance ray, the dj is playing your set.

  42. Mike Daly says: “don’t make that assumption, as the extra games can derail a division lead.”
    1) Tell that to all the Colts fans that paid top dollar to watch their team throw a game.
    2) What I was talking about was that two additional MEANINGFUL games increases the likelihood that starters of the two Super Bowls teams will either not be able to play due to injury or will have to play at a sub par level due to injury. Two extra games at full speed with starters in the game means the QBs will probably be taking anywhere from 6 to 10 extra sacks per season and far more hits. With 300 lb plus men coming at them at top speed, it is bound to affect their play and their longevity. Florio has been on a year long campaign to “preserve” the Super Bowl from any outcome he views as less than ideal. I’m rather curious why he is not upset at the prospect of a Super Bowl been played with more starters hurt than the norm because of the extended season.

  43. east96street –
    1 – 2009 is a poor example – try 2003 instead (Colts & Titans finish 12-4), or 2006 (Colts lose all three division games in December) or 2008 (Colts finish 1 game behind Titans). The reality is adding two extra games manifestly can help a team erase a division gap.
    2 – There is no evidence of ANY correlation between increasing number of games and increasing injuries. Tom Brady for one should know this, having seen Rodney Harrison lost in WEEK THREE of 2005, Ty Law downed for the count in WEEK EIGHT of 2004, Roosevelt Colvin lost in WEEK TWO of 2003, and of course himself downed JUST ELEVEN SNAPS into 2008; the only example he could cite would be Week 17 of 2006 against the Titans and the shot that cost Rodney Harrison the playoffs (and nearly set off a brawl between Bruschi and Jeff Fisher), and that would be a weak case because Harrison had already been lost for half the year some eight weeks earlier against Indianapolis. And for quarterbacks in particular, with the league’s obsession with getting defenders off them, the longevity argument doesn’t carry much weight anymore, either. For what it’s worth, the Canadian League has been an 18-game schedule as long as I can remember and I’ve never seen any correlation between their extra two games and increase in injuries.
    3 – The preservation of the Superbowl argument is about bad-weather football being fundamentally bad football – this is why the SB should not be played in NYC.

  44. Mike Daly 1) No, it’s not. It’s a current example, you’re assuming all races from the moment the longer season is put in place will be competitive. They won’t. 2) Please site all your in depth studies on the matter. Face it, you’re talking out your ass. You have NO IDEA whether there’s a correlation or not. Common sense indicates more hits equal worn down body equals increased risk of injury. Don’t take my word for it. Talk to an orthopedist. 3) Yeah, Canadian Football is a GREAT example. Guys there are as big, strong, talented, and fast as they are in the NFL. They just play in Canada for the weather and the huge paychecks. 4) People that know nothing of NFL history think bad weather tarnishes the game. Many of the greatest games in NFL history have been played in poor to terrible weather. It’s a cold weather sport. That’s why they don’t play in summer. BTW- look up NYC climate. There’s a far greater risk of snow in January than in February, But don’t let the facts get in the way of your bias.

  45. Consensus (at least here- which is an accurate snapshot of the NFL fanbase as a whole) is that this is a terrible idea.
    Leave the regular season alone (or shorten it) and cut preseason game ticket prices in half.
    It can happen! The PEOPLE rule on this planet. Right?

  46. east96street –
    1 – 2009 is a poor example because you’re assuming that a longer schedule will mean division leaders pull away more; on the contrary, a longer schedule is likely to mean teams closing the gap on division leaders.
    2 – I cited from Tom Brady’s own career the lack of correlation between a longer schedule and frequency of injuries – the premise against a longer schedule is increased injuries, yet there is NOTHING in league history to buttress this argument. This is common sense; you’re the one talking out of your butt here.
    3 – Criticizing the Canadian League is not an argument; it’s a substitute – if an 18-game schedule means more injuries it would show up in the CFL and the fact is it doesn’t.
    4 – The greatest games? The Ice Bowl was a dramatic finish to a terrible game. The Ice Box Bowl of the 1981 playoffs was a terrible game. The Snow Bowl in 2001 was a stunning outcome but an abysmal game. Bad weather football is bad football. “There is far greater risk of snow in January than February.” I live in the northeast and know February is as risky for snow as January.

  47. researchALLwars – what “consensus?” What facts argue against an 18-game schedule or FOR a 14-game schedule? 14 games is not enough.

  48. You should just shorten the season to training camp and award the trophies to the Jets, cuz they win the off season every year.

  49. more football..lecharles bently got injurd on the first snap of the first ota practice with cleveland in 2007…if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen. equiptment techonology advanced as well..more football, less preseason. boosh!

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