Mawae says he “can’t sell” an 18-game season

When NFLPA president Kevin Mawae appeared earlier this month on PFT Live, he indicated that the union would be willing to consider an 18-game season as part of a broader labor deal that the players deemed acceptable.

Now, it sounds as if 18 games simply won’t work, under any circumstances.

Appearing Thursday of Sirius Mad Dog Radio with Jeff Rickard and Steve Phillips, Mawae addressed the chances of seeing an 18-game season in 2011.

“Can’t sell it,” Mawae said.  “I can’t sell it to the players.  DeMaurice Smith can’t sell it to the players.  The players don’t want it, and quite frankly the fans don’t want it.  Could you imagine, if this was an 18-game season this weekend would just be the second round of the playoffs.  Think about that.  How long would the season be?  And then on top of that, the stars you think might be playing in Week 18 were probably on the bench because you lost another 12 or 15 guys throughout the league due to injuries late in the season from overuse and stuff like that.  It’s not a sell.  I can’t sell 18 games.”

It’s unclear at this point whether Mawae is simply posturing, in part because the NFLPA already has agreed to an 18-game regular season in the current labor deal.  As Mawae explained on PFT Live, a simple majority of the players will be enough to approve a new contract, and if half of them plus one will agree to a proposal including 18 games, then 18 games will be played.

71 responses to “Mawae says he “can’t sell” an 18-game season

  1. The NFLPA has already agreed to it? You sure of that? I know that they counter-offered with a package of things they would need to have in order to agree to 18 games, but that’s not the same thing.

  2. The only people that want an 18 game season are some of the owners. A seventeen game schedule has some merit by removing 1 preseason game. But the 16 game schedule is strenuous enough. All the players are injured in some fashion by the end of the season.

  3. I’m confused, I thought I just read that union leadership was offended by the concept that their job was to “sell” proposals to their members. Now they are using the term as a way to say an idea is a non-starter. They really need to get their strategies and talking points coordinated! BTW, Mawae must think the fans are stupid if we think the 18 game schedule would have postponed the playoffs, the extra games would be replacing 2 pre-season games that season ticket holders are forced to pay for.

  4. I don’t care, I would just prefer that make sure there are ANY games next season. Sheesh.

  5. Good. 18 games is an awful idea.

    I’m curious though if anyone really given consideration to just how much more revenue there would be just by expanding the playoffs to 8 teams.

    8 more Wild Card round games. Chaching.

  6. I agree with the players on this one. I’m a season ticket holder in New Orleans and we were out of running backs after 17 games.

  7. I don’t know where they keep coming up with this crap that with an 18 season “we would be in the second round of the playoffs”.
    I thought the idea was to get rid of two of the worthless pre-season games and replace them with real games. Which would mean to me that we would still be at the same exact place.
    but the season ticket holders wouldn’t have to pay full price to watch a game where most of the guys will be cut next week.

  8. 18 games is the end of the NFL as you know it. The worst idea ever suggested along with having an NFL team in Europe along with a Super Bowl there as well. Goodell needs to resign for the sake of the league

  9. Not even the fans want an 18 game season. No matter how much Godell likes to pretend we do…

  10. The 18 game season is a HORRIBLE idea. The biggest reason is player injury. But in the NFL, each game means something. Each game is “big”. Adding two more dilutes that even more.

  11. let’s have a vote on here as fans. everyone say if you want an 18 game season. a simple yes or no will work. i say no just get rid of two of the preseason games.

  12. I wouldn’t agree to that. We’ve seen what a 16 game season does to the body so I have no interest in watching my favorite players cut short their careers by endangering themselves with an additional two more weeks. The body gets fatigued and becomes susceptible to breaking down and two more game in the dead of winter doesn’t help that one bit.

    The average career currently is what, 3 years? Add those weeks and the average career will be shortened down to 1.5 – 2 years.

    Greedy ass owners looking to get richer…

  13. Mark me down as a fan that’s not buying it either. Less is more! Listen to the fans if you won’t listen to the players, Goodell.

  14. “I can’t sell it to the players. DeMaurice Smith can’t sell it to the players.

    Then it looks like time for new players or new salesmen.

  15. Good, I don’t want 18 games either, I would be OK with 18 weeks to play 16 games, that was done a few times in the 90’s.

    At the very least a 17 game season with the odd game at a neutral site for ALL teams would be good, that way no teams lose any home game revenue, do that within a timespan of 19 weeks and you may have a compromise.

  16. I’m exhausted from watching a 16 game season, leave it the way it is……Football is perfect with a 16 game season, 3 weeks of playoffs, a week off then the SB……I also Like the the pro bowl the off week before the SB but they should move it to a stadium near the SB and party for two straight weeks…..

  17. Theres a surprise, he’s trying to get the fans on there side.

    “The owners only look out for themselves, we put our bodies on the line and they just want more money.”

    Complete stupidity if anyone falls for this, you can sell it, money walks and two more paychecks will sell the players. If they have a problem with it go work at Walmart. They know they’re getting better benefits when they retire that’ll come with the new CBA, they also know the rosters will expand, they should just quite whining about it.

    For those that say they lose years off there life, well I’d take 8 years off my life expectancy to set my family up for generations.

  18. Mawae is obviously a Steelers fan this weekend, since Green Bay has done what he claims to be impossible, with 15 players on IR.

    Sounds to me like he’s lazy, and he’s imposing his thoughts and feelings on the union as a whole.

    The owners need to stop being so damn greedy and increase the union’s piece of the pie if they want more performance – and the players need to stop being spa pantywaists. Someone needs to lock out Jones, Snyder, and some of the other bullheaded idiots and sit down and agree on some things. Let’s get a deal done, girls.

  19. I don’t understand why they just don’t stick another bye week into the season. They could have one in the first half of the season and one in the second half. The league gets an extra game’s worth of commercials, the players play the same amount, the coaches get an extra bye week, the owners get another week’s worth of hot dogs and merch sales. Everyone wins.

  20. I’d rather pay $150 for game 17 than game -4. I’d also rather have 52 games than 16. Stop telling the fans what they want, all we want is football.

  21. “The players don’t want it, and quite frankly the fans don’t want it.”

    Uh,what good football fan wouldn’t want 2 extra weeks? My wife might not like the idea but I would be in heaven!!

  22. start the season a week or two earlier and use the suggestions in tdurdenlives comment…..problem solved

    oh and Mawae, maybe you need to talk to the fans. We want more games. This is coming from a Browns fan.

  23. As a fan I’m selfish and I’d take 20 games. As a realist I understand the beating the players would take. Not to mention the loss of 2 pre season games for evaluating purposes. Let’s compromise at 17 with 3 preseason

  24. im still not sure why they can’t find a middle ground where they leave the 16 game schedule and explain the playoffs by 2 teams/conference…
    sure it may not make the owners AS MUCH money as an 18 gm season but adding an extra weekend of playoff football would make the owners more coin and i would imagine the players would like it quite a bit more

  25. They wont have to play a 18 game next season, the replacements players will play 6 then the players will fold like a cheap suit. 12 games, then they will have a full offseason to adjust to the 18 game season. ” Can’t sell it”…lol The spendthrifts in your union will have to buy it. 6 Games max. When they cross the line they will say “I did it for my family”. Its going to be a gas, one week on the picket line, next week playing.

  26. Well, count me among the fans that Mawae thinks don’t exist….the ones that would prefer an 18-game season. I pay for 10 games no matter what, why can’t 9 of them be “real” instead of 8? Why can’t our RB that was lost in a meaningless pre-season game, get a chance to play in a game that counts? Guys get hurt ALL THE TIME in pre-season, how would making two of the games count make any difference to that equation?

    His utter nonsesnse about this being week two of the playoffs just shows me he absorbed too much head trauma playing the game.

    If Mawae wants to pay for my pre-season games, then he can complain about the 18-game proposal, otherwise don’t I deserve a real game for real prices?

  27. This is really simple for the NFL if they want to have an 18 game schedule.

    Just proclaim that 2 of the pre-season games will now count toward the regular season schedule. Teams can do what they wish with player rotations and who plays/sits, but two of the pre-season games will now count toward the final record.

    By the way, how long before Mawae has to leave his position? He’s no longer a player.

  28. Well as a die hard NFL fan, I’m totally against the 18 game season — I think it’s just sick —- I think these owners are just dramatically watering down the sport of pro football on the field and off with this 18 games and less hitting and all this stuff — I mean there is such a thing as too much football — Just think if we had had Ali-Frazier 7 or 12 or 17 I mean it would be a big yawn like oh their having another one oh their having another one oh their having another one oh, I’m going to be busy that night, let me know how it turns out — As it stands now each game is vital and there is enough of them — Lets not kill the players — Lets not water it down any more — Anyway, that’s how I feel about it ——– Oh and how it stands now it looks like the owners are still planning on have NO games at all

  29. Almost every season ticket holder would be in favor of the 18 game season because we would get a real game in place of a meaningless pre-season game. We already pay full price for the meaningless pre-season game; might as well see the starters play instead of camp fodder.

    And any real football fan ALWAYS wants more football. That’s why fans drool over the draft, free agency, training camp to feed our addiction.

    And Mawae is full of it. The season would be the same length. The NFL is proposing two meaningful games IN PLACE of two meaningless games.

  30. No problem, Kev, the UFL has a nice short 10 game season. All your guys can spend Christmas at home with their family. As in Mom and Dad. Living downstairs in their old bedroom.

  31. snaponrules says:
    Jan 27, 2011 9:49 PM
    I don’t know where they keep coming up with this crap that with an 18 season “we would be in the second round of the playoffs”.
    I thought the idea was to get rid of two of the worthless pre-season games and replace them with real games. Which would mean to me that we would still be at the same exact place.
    but the season ticket holders wouldn’t have to pay full price to watch a game where most of the guys will be cut next week.
    They would just eliminate the first two preseason games. The season would start at the same time (something to do with labor day) and those “extra” games would be added on to the season extending it by 2 weeks.

    As far as the full price for preseason games: that is a marketing mistake by the owners. They should have just said that the season ticket holders are paying for the regular season and can attend the preseason games for free. It would still cost the same but for some reason people wouldn’t feel that bad. They should never have printed the price on the tickets.

  32. Kevin Mawae is a smart man. He makes great arguments that an 18-game season is not desirable to anyone but the owners.

    What can teams accomplish in 18 games they can’t in 16. Records will be broken, but they would also be rather meaningless. Players’ injuries probably would be higher with less time in the off-season to recover.

    I do think the NFL has to stop cheating season-ticket holders with their preseason games though. Paying full price for an exhibition (with half the starters not even playing much) is ridiculous.

  33. I would love the additional two games! Mawae is an idiot if he thinks the fans don’t want more football. How many concussions has he had?

  34. savocabol1 says:
    Jan 27, 2011 10:19 PM
    …oh and Mawae, maybe you need to talk to the fans. We want more games. This is coming from a Browns fan.
    Not all fans. It is probably 50/50 at best. There are many fans who believe the preseason games are necessary for player evaluation and the 16 game regular season schedule is as close to perfect and “fair” as it can get. Those same fans do not want the game watered down by increased injuries or resting players for the playoffs. I would bet that of the fans that want more games, a majority are fantasy players.

  35. I myself would love an 18 games season. I’m dreading the Superbowl because I know it means football is over. I know it may be selfish of me, but you could make the season 11 months long and I’d love every minute of it. The worst part of summer is the absence of football, even compared to the Midwest weather…

  36. Don’t care if it’s 16, 17, or 18 games. Just get rid of or don’t charge for meaningless preseason games.

  37. nobody i know wants 18 games. 16 is perfect. each one means something – the more you dilute that, the more insignificant the game and the more insignificant the interest.

    you’ve got a good thing going. stop f’ing it up.

  38. One of the reasons that NFL is far and away the #1 sport is that the games mean so much. By adding games you water down the signifigance of each game, & of course water down the talent with more injuries.

    I give 2 big thumbs down to 18 game sched.

  39. NFLPA represents the players not the fans so please don’t tell me what I want and don’t want. You know what I want is for both sides to take less money and cut ticket and concession prices, that’s what I want!

  40. i dont understand why not an 18 game season? Two more games of football, whats wrong with that? I’m sure there are plenty of college players would jump at the chance to play 18 nfl games..

  41. The packers would not have made playoffs if it wasn’t for desean jackson’s miracle punt return against the giants. Yes with an 18 game schedule they probably would have ended up making the playoffs anyway, but the thrill of that play and the last two games of the season (which were basically playoff games) gives the fans the excitement of a every game counts so much more with a 16 game schedule. Real football fans appreciate it the way it is. 16 games and every game counts means so much more than say 82 (like other sports) and over half the teams in those leagues make the playoffs.

  42. My 2 cents:

    1. 18 game regular season & 2 preseason games = stupid idea; players getting injured already with 16 games

    2. The reason this whole discussion came up in the beginning was because Goodell claimed that fans don’t want 4 preseason game -and he is right

    3. There is no way they are going to decrease # of total games- so 20 total preseason and regular games

    SOLUTION: make preseason games more meaningful than the exhibition games that they are. How? Reward draft picks based on preseason record. 4-0 teams get extra 3rd round pick: 3-1 teams get extra 4th round pick; 2-2 teams get extra 6th round pick and 1-3 teams get extra 7th round pick.

    An extra 3rd round pick is huge! Imagine picking up a Mike Wallace, or a Terrell Owens.

    The reward is substantial but does not affect whether a team makes the playoffs or not – so each team/coach will need to make individual decisions to play their starters or use the playing time to evaluate their backups & rookies.

    My 2 cents

  43. Someone should make a list of the undrafted players making the final 53. I guarantee most made the team because of good preseason games.

  44. tdurdenlives says:
    Jan 27, 2011 10:15 PM
    I don’t understand why they just don’t stick another bye week into the season. They could have one in the first half of the season and one in the second half. The league gets an extra game’s worth of commercials, the players play the same amount, the coaches get an extra bye week, the owners get another week’s worth of hot dogs and merch sales. Everyone wins.
    I agree completely but they need to start the season a week earlier…the SuperBowl should not be played in the middle of February. I think they should have conference bye weeks instead of this random stuff they have now. 4 total, 2 per conference. All AFC teams would be off one week and then the NFC teams the next. Do that twice and each team gets a total of two byes and no team gets any advantage over their div/conference rivals based on bye scheduling.

  45. Most starters don’t play a full game in the final two preseason games, so, yes, replacing them with 2 regular season games would have a very significant effect on their bodies. And as pointless as fans think preseason games are, they’re very important to coaches so that they can evaluate their roster, and I’d think they’re also valuable to the backups who get valuable playing time. I can understand having a beef with having to pay full price for the preseason games, but at the same time, if you have the money to afford season tickets, you should be thankful.

  46. smith62477 says:
    Jan 27, 2011 10:27 PM
    Am I the only one who finds it funny that the NFLPA president is no longer a player?


    Agreed. Or that said president is bracketed (to the left and right) by Ki-Jana Carter and Ricky Watters in the above pic. Can’t make out the guy in the far background, but it appears to me to be D’Marco Farr?

    These guys, along with self-styled politico DeMaurice Smith, hold the hopes of the Union getting dirty and giving in to some things to reach an agreement? Sounds to me like a bunch of has-beens trying to get a chunk of change they feel was owed to them a decade ago.

    Now I don’t really like this situation at all…

  47. No point of 17 game season, 1/2 the teams will get shafted a home game. The neutral site is just as horrible of an idea, certain teams would inevitably have the “neutral site” as a second home game compared to more isolated teams and/or teams with smaller fan bases. Plus it means either a winning season or losing season and eliminates going .500

  48. While An 18 game season certainly would have some merit by rewarding teams that have more depth/youth despite the fact their starting roster might not be so impressive. There is just way too many obstacles facing the expansion aside from just the players and fans.

    more games=larger roster
    larger roster=more rounds needed in draft

    Expanded season would only be done if it would significantly raise profits. That will be hard considering the players (and coaches)will want more money and there will be a lot more players. Not to mention that the AVERAGE participation rating from viewers will drop due to decrease from viewers (as games are less meaningful) and the increase in games.

    All Season records would have to be once again reevaluated

    Lastly, there is always 4-7 teams whose season is undoubtedly over with by Week 6. Don’t make their loyal fans suffer longer than need be.

  49. “domehead says: Jan 27, 2011 9:49 PM

    I agree with the players on this one. I’m a season ticket holder in New Orleans and we were out of running backs after 17 games.”

    Dude, you were out of RBs after like 3 games.

    Definitely 16 playoff teams and an extra batch of wildcard games before an 18 game schedule. No question.

  50. If they are looking to extend the season, why dont they just add one game and one more bye week. Then the nfl is up to 19 weeks, and add only one more game. Seems simple.

  51. Just who the hell is Kevin Mawae to decide what I, as a fan, want or don’t want from the NFL ?? He’s crazy. The fans and likely the players haven’t heard the final plan to move from 16 to 18 yet from the owners. So until that time, Mawae, shut up and start negotiating with the owners, that my friend should be your focus now. I don’t want to hear you bantering about in public. I want you and De Smith at the bargaining table, you know….bargaining…

    And that goes for you to Roger Goodell…get this thing going and let us all move on….

    Being completely earnest, the fans don’t care whether there are 16, 18 or 30 games, just so long as there are games….

  52. I’m sorry if I’m repeating a lot of things that were already said but I feel the need to put my 2 cents in. I don’t want an 18 game season, season tickets are expensive enough, no thanks. Shorten the preseason to 3 games, the 4th is completely useless. If its a deal breaker I could get behind an extra two teams in the playoffs but I’d prefer to keep it the way it is.

    Now onto the bigger issues. Have the owners and the league office never heard of the expression, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I mean as fans we have had to deal with a myriad of rule changes every season since Goddell has taken over. It is legitimately impossible to keep up with. The men tasked with enforcing the rules on the field can barely keep up and usually end up blowing a couple calls (and games) early in the season because of it. The NFL has had like 6 different definitions of what a catch is since 2000.

    Lastly, the owners and league office need to realize that they are extremely out of touch with their fan base. The things they find important don’t align with a lot of the things we feel are important. Celebrating after scoring doesn’t tarnish the brand, it gives it character. 16 games isn’t losing the revenue of 18 games, its keeping the games interesting every weekend. The owners want robots, the fans want personalities. To use the most simple analogy I can think of, its like going to the deli, ordering a sandwich, and they give you lettuce tomato and mustard on the sandwich when in reality you wanted just plain turkey and cheese. If they don’t find a way to narrow the philosophical divide between those two sides I can guarantee the success the NFL has seen recently will be shortlived.

  53. I don’t want an 18 game season. There are already plenty of injuries and there will only be more because you can only take the pounding these players take for so long before your body breaks down.

    It wouldn’t surprise me though if the players do vote for 18 games because more than half of the players in the league don’t start 16 games each season and they are seeing $$$. The players on the bench will want 18 games for the extra pay.
    The players that play 16 games a season including the stars of the league cannot like 18 games, and I would have to think fans don’t want it either. I hope the players don’t cave on this one.

    The owners need to give in to the 18 games in hopes to get the players to agree to more of what the owners want…that is what I think is going to happen.

  54. here’s an easy fix, git rid of these stupid preseason games that the owners charge full priced tix for. televise live scrimmages, and increase the roster size. BOOM !!! 18 games no problem !

    Owners are to Efin cheap and the players are to Efin stupid

  55. Agree with Mr. Mawae. 18 games is not something that is going to be a good thing. Too many injuries, shortened careers, watered down football etc…

  56. Overwhelming opinion from most fans I have talked to and read of:
    We don’t want 18 games we just don’t want to pay full price for two preseason games.

    Goodell “hears” this as:

    The fans want 18 games because they feel preseason is meaningless and not quality football.

    WHO HAS EVER ARGUED THAT PRESEASON IS QUALITY FOOTBALL??? ANYONE??? BUELLER????? I have never ever heard one fan whining about how preseason games aren’t quality football. It’s a patently absurd argument by Goodell and speaks to his patronizing arrogance and lack of respect for actual fans of the game no matter how much lip service he gives to caring about the fans.
    Real NFL fans (not fantasy football types) get that preseason is for evaluation of players for the team you root for, evaluation of scheme and for practice for your team’s starters. Period.

  57. weak arguments here…oh a millionaire is gonna sprain his ankle and still get paid to rehab…boohoo. These players need to get a real job and see how far that argument will take them.

  58. majikalmushroom: If there were two more games, fewer teams’ seasons would be over by Week 6, as you put it.

    Indeed, if a team is 0-5 after Week 5 (assuming they didn’t have their bye week in Weeks 4 or 5) their season is over, as no team has ever made the playoffs after starting 0-5.

    Not only that, but no team has ever even so much as reached the conference championship game after starting 0-3 – and only one team in NFL history has ever made the playoffs after starting 0-2, if both of those two losses were at home, in a non-strike year (the 2003 Eagles).

    I’ve been going to the racetrack for 35 years – and one of the best things about horse racing is that a horse can be last at the top of stretch, but first under the wire. Another awesome thing about horse racing is the Triple Crown. A lot of horses have won the Derby and the Preakness, but couldn’t win the Belmont because they didn’t have the needed stamina to go a mile and a half.

    So it will be in the NFL with the 18-game season: A team may get off to a 7-0 start or a 9-0 start, but if they can’t go 18 games – especially if their roster is chock full of aging veteran players, who other teams originally drafted and developed – they won’t be around when it really matters.

    Thus the 18-game schedule will reward the organizations who did their homework and built their teams through the draft – and penalize parasite organizations (I won’t name names here, but I don’t even have to) who signed already-established players away from other teams in free agency.

  59. 18 game season waters down the significance of each game just a little bit more. My Grandfather used to say “Don’t break what doesn’t need fixin’ . . . “. The only broken part is having to pay full price for preseason games. Fix THAT! I respect the Rooney’s for saying they are against it.

    My fan opinion is that TOP rookie salaries are OUT OF CONTROL and MOST owners are bottom-line greedy.

  60. I suppose you also think the shot clock “waters down” basketball because it gives a team a fair chance to come from behind and win a game.

    Why should a team’s season be over just because they started 0-5, or even 0-3?

    And why stop at a season as short as 16 games? Why not have the entire season consist of a single-elimination tournament, which would be convenient to do since there are 32 teams? Maybe I shouldn’t suggest this too seriously: What happens if there’s a lockout, and there’s a CBA signed in December? We all know what happens in that case: Brett Favre comes out of retirement, and the Vikings win Super Bowl XLVI!

    One of the greatest stories in sports history was that of the “Miracle Braves” of 1914, who came from last place on July 4th to win the NL pennant, then the World Series.

    Don’t know about you, but I’d like to see more stories like that – and with the 18-game season in the NFL, we will.

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