Goodell again mentions shorter preseason


The prepared remarks presented on Thursday by Commissioner Roger Goodell at the Harvard School of Public Health made no mention of the impact of the potential expansion of the regular season from 16 to 18 games on the league’s overriding concern to promote and preserve player health and safety.

In a question-and-answer session that came after his speech, Goodell addressed one key aspect of the possible reconfiguration of the season from 16 regular-season games and four preseason games to 18 and two.

“I don’t believe the veterans need four preseason games anymore,” Goodell said.  “The primary purpose of a preseason for a team is to evaluate and develop players and then they select their teams.

“Our athletes stay in shape all year now.  It’s a different game.  So I believe we can get to two games.  That’s one of the genesis of the 18 and two or potentially the 16 and two.  Both of those are alternatives that we have to look at.  Do I think we’ll move towards a shorter preseason?  Yes, from a health and safety standpoint but also from the standpoint of fan reaction. [Preseason] just does not meet the standard and quality of what the NFL is all about. People come to our stadiums or watch on television, they expect to see the best football.  That means the best players and a competitive game.  We don’t deliver on that promise in the preseason.”

Despite the enhanced safety concerns, the NFL has yet to take 18 games off the table.  As a result, suspicion will persist that the league plans to take full advantage of its unilateral ability under the 2011 labor deal to slash the preseason in half, in the hopes that the players will crunch the numbers resulting from the loss of 10 percent of the annual inventory and decide on their own that two extra regular-season games may not be a bad thing, after all.

That’s not so far fetched.  With the league and the NFLPA sharing revenue like never before, losing two preseason games would reduce the players’ share of the cash, which in turn could keep the salary cap flat or even make it drop.

On the other hand, swapping out two preseason games with two regular-season games could dramatically increase the revenue, given the value of selling games that count to the networks.

Until the league conclusively and unequivocally says that there won’t be an increase in the regular season from 16 to 18 games, it remains a possibility.  And the only way it will ever become a reality is if the players want it.

The only way the players will ever want it is if they realize that, financially, they need it.

25 responses to “Goodell again mentions shorter preseason

  1. Playing 1, 2, 3 or 4 preseason games is not the problem from a fans standpoint. Its that the owners flat out insult us by charging full price for them.

  2. The question is whether the players need it financially, given the increased risks physically. IMO they’ve decided that as of now it’s not worth it.

    Stay tuned for the inevitable battle of the players vs. The Great God Goodell.

  3. Good ole Goodell, concerned about players’ safety that he’s gonna make them play two more games.

  4. ohhhhhhhhhhhhh

    how the truth comes out..
    the only reason they are going through the trouble of all these ‘necessary safety precautions” is so they can say

    “injuries are down, we can now move to 18 games since football is a SAFER SPORT”

    get real, this is all smoke screen, gdel is a puppet.
    its not about the players, its about money.

  5. Easy solution…

    Remove 2 preseason games, extend the regular season by two weeks, and give each team a second bye week.

    One more game per season that means something, less games that do not matter, and players will be healthier when they get two weeks of rest during the season rather then one.

  6. I do not want to hear about player safety from the likes of this phony Goodell until he stops scheduling Thursday night games, and stops pursuing the 18 game season.

  7. It certainly doesn’t seem like the reduced practice schedule has helped the injury situation. I’m not sure that fewer pre-season games would either.

    Are we sure this isn’t just about the money? Regular season games bring in a lot more revenue.

  8. rodger dodger dose not get it. if your for the safety of players cut the Thr.night games out.

  9. Two is the right number and would make the games mean more. The starters would likely play a whole half and the second half of games would be fought harder because people are trying to make a roster spot.

    I have a few more ideas. Go to a fifteen minute halftime like the old days. The NFL game moves fairly quickly these days so 3 extra minutes isn’t going to drag it out. This allows more time for game strategy (needed because play this season has been awful), but more importantly more time to evaluate injuries and could be used to air commercials and hopefully reduce a few during actual game play.

    One thing I would like to see added too is every team with a retractable roof be required to open it for at least six games of the eight games. People like weather games.

    One final thing is make the 53 man roster all eligible to play in the game.

  10. Increase the roster size, add another bye, and drop the preseason games altogether if you want 18 games, Mr.Goodell.

  11. Glad to see the owners, via Goodell, at least acknowledging that fans aren’t getting what they pay for during the preseason. Whether anything comes of it is a different story.

    As a decades-long season ticket holder, I wouldn’t mind chopping two games off the preseason. I’d rather not not pay for a game I wouldn’t attend anyway. One home preseason contest would be perfect.

    If the prospect becomes a viable option, curious to see if the players will jump at the chance to make more money the 18 game season would present or, for once, choose a non-monetary benefit over their bank account.

  12. Now that he admitted that the pre-season is a joke can I have a refund on the pre-season tickets I was required to buy as a season ticket holder?

  13. I think it’s a crime you are forced to buy tickets to the preason if you have season tickets. This would be like going into a Ruth Chris steakhouse and being served McDonalds happy meals.

  14. Keep things as they are and just charge season ticket holders half price for preseason games. The games are for the coaches and players trying to make the teams. The problems came when the NFL tried to make a buck off the preseason. They are closer to practice than games.

  15. I liked 17 game season (8 home, 8 away and 1 neutral), 3 preseason (1 home, 1 away, 1 neutral) and everyone is active.

    –Play some of the neutral games overseas and other at cities that do not normally see pro football. Move some preseason games overseas.

    –17 games would mean winning or losing seasons (except for ties)

  16. where would victor cruz be if there wasnt a 3rd preseason game….

    takin away 2 preseason games is taking out any chance an up and coming undrafted beast has to be great..arian foster.

    i cant express how much i cant stand goodell enough..

  17. Roger Goodell is one of the most hypocritical individuals on the face of the earth. Roger, your family must be proud that you are ranked below used car salemen when it comes to intergrity.

  18. Finally Goodell Is thinking!
    Who needs pre season? I 18 games would mean more important football and less meaningless football. 20 weeks of football! (2bye weeks are needed) I’m lovin it!

  19. Stop playing the preseason games in the stadiums, start playing them in the practice facilities. Allow local tv stations to air them locally if they want.

  20. Am I the only one who sees the NFL the same as the housing bubble that is about to burst? He just talked about how he is afraid people like watching football on HDTV over attending games (precursor to charging EVERYBODY pay per view), wants an expanded schedule, wants at least one team in Europe, has football on Sunday, Thursday, Monday, and sometimes Saturday, and fines players for breathing too hard.
    Obviously too much money is never enough. Growth just for the sake of growth is very dangerous. Tickets are already out pricing good football fans from attending games.
    Part of the beauty of the NFL is that every game matters. Why water it down? Also, only two preseason game to evaluate new talent isn’t enough.

  21. I’ve loved football since my dad took me to my first NFL game when I was 4 years old. And 34 years later, there’s a greedy part of me that would love to see an 18 game schedule.

    Then there’s the part of me that knows what these guys go through is different than any other sport in terms of injuries and pain management. No, we don’t need an 18 game season.

    Chop off two of the pre-season games and leave the season at 16. The players are human beings, not cattle.

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