NFLPA bracing for eventual push for 18 games

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With more than four years to go under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, it’s widely believed that management will soon pursue in earnest talks on an extension. Labor is bracing for the revival of a request that has been looming quietly for the last few years.

The NFLPA expects the league to make a renewed push for 18 regular-season games, PFT learned earlier this month. Once a fairly regular talking point from Commissioner Roger Goodell, who had developed a habit of publicly trashing the quality of preseason play in an effort to nudge the 20-game format from 16-and-4 to 18-and-2, Goodell hasn’t mentioned the subject in a while. He last addressed the subject in May 2013, telling reporters that “all options are on the table,” including the addition of regular-season games and the expansion of the playoffs.

Neither has occurred in large part because the players don’t want more football. The ongoing TV ratings slide suggests fans don’t want more football, either. But some believe that the drop in ratings will actually make the NFL more intent on growing the inventory of games.

With 256 current regular-season contests drawing fewer viewers, one very simple way to pad the total numbers will be to add another 32 games, which would carry with it two more weekends of prime-time action. Even if there are fewer total viewers or the same number of viewers watching less football (I still can’t figure out which one is worse), giving them more football increases the chances that any given prime-time game will be more compelling, more competitive, more exciting, and generally less Jaguars-Titany.

Ultimately, it won’t happen unless the union agrees. Although the official position for years has been one of total disinterest and at times outright refusal, the NFLPA realizes that everything is negotiable. With, for example, larger rosters, a bigger piece of the pie to pay all players, and maybe a few other concessions (neutral arbitration, anyone?), the players could be willing to accept the terms.

And while the expiration of the current labor agreement remains well into the future, this phenomenon of shrinking ratings will create a quiet sense or urgency for the league to make any and all adjustments necessary either to reverse the trend or to adjust to what may be a new reality. That’s something the NFL likely won’t want to wait four years to do.

87 responses to “NFLPA bracing for eventual push for 18 games

  1. Yes, more regular season games, less ripoff preseason games.

    Players are overpaid anyway, add two more games to make them really earn their salaries.

    Two more games for the Patriots to cheat in .

    Two more games to see blatantly poor officiating.

    Two more games to be confused about what is really a catch.

  2. Great idea NFL. Ratings are down dramatically for 16 game season, let’s over saturate even more to 18 games of bad football. As many in London as possible please. We just love those. NOT!

  3. I got an idea, they play an extra game but in exchange they don’t have to practice at all. Hey let’s face it, 1 more game is going to happen. The players get a % of the total revenue from the league and the well has run dry. This is going to be the next big bump in salary for them.

  4. Mark Cuban was so prophetic, several years ago.

    It’s bad enough that the owners keep screwing with the game but, they seem Hell-bound to drain all life out of that pig.

  5. I’d rather keep it at 16 or cut it back to 14 in exchange for more practice time in pads. Then we wouldn’t have to put up with so much “pre-season” looking football. That’s why the quality is down and the ratings are dropping…..

  6. If I’m the NFLPA, neutral arbitration isn’t something I would want “in return” for giving the NFL what it wants. Instead, I WOULDNT EVEN COME TO THE NEGOTIATION TABLE unless the NFL first conceeded that punishments under unilateral commissioner control has been a disaster and gives it up. The NFL wouldn’t have any new agreements until it showed the self awareness to admit that it never should have had that power, only gained it when Goodell suddenly pushed the envelope, and most importantly has nothing to gain by trying to keep it.

  7. With more games, come more injuries. That makes the playoff roster composed of even more backups. Is this something any of us really want to see? I suppose the NFLPA would accept this if they get more roster spots (necessitated by a greater share of gross revenue). Either way, the fans lose.

  8. The issue with Primetime is that I don’t care about your stupid team.

    Is your team the Cowboys? Yup. I don’t care, super friggin boring and irrelevant. Is your team the Giants? Holy smokes, even worse, boring and irrelevant.

    I am from Minnesota dude, my team is 10x more entertaining both on and off the field than virtually any other team in the NFL, why should I downgrade my entertainment?

    Watching Primetime games with 2 crappy, boring, irrelevant teams is attuned to watching the weather forecast for a different country. I am over worked, underpaid, and way too smart to buy the junk that they are trying to sell me.

  9. Give teams two or three more Bye weeks then. The players will need more rest if you think they’re going to be able to make 18. Pushing it back also allows the Super Bowl to be played on the Sunday of Presidents Day Weekend, which is a holiday for a lot of people.

  10. Players are overpaid?? Then what are the owners? The players deserve
    all they get which also includes lifelong problems with injuries.
    Early stage dementia (. See recent update on Chuck Noll…yes he suffered early onset of demntia) not to mention possible relation
    of head injuries to ALS. The 2006 CBA apparently gave the players
    too much so the owners locked the players out and took away
    a fair deal.
    There is no need to expand the number of games. The league and especially the owners, are hiting record high revenues every year.
    Too many games will oversaturize the product. The owners insist on
    games on Thursday’s , with 3-4 days rest. That is dangerous. The league should expand the season, have 2 bye weeks. This will allow the players to recover properly and create a better game. How much
    money do the owners need? If they want more money cut Goodell’s
    pay in half. If he is making 40 a year ( I believe he made 35 million last year and 44 million the year before ) cut his salary to 20, over two years each owner gets more than a million more revenue a year. That’s
    a years payment to lease their private jet!

  11. The quality of the games has already gone downhill. They need to expand rosters so there’s more depth. They need to have more practices so that the players are in better shape. They need to make the offseason workouts more mandatory or start earlier or something so that the players show up ready to practice. Bring back 2 a days in full pads. I have a feeling if you expanded the offseason, you’d see less players getting in trouble, too.

    The only people complaining are the players who are only in it for the paycheck and don’t want to work. Do you think someone like Big Ben, Jordan Matthews, AJ Green or Derek Carr is going to complain about having to practice more? I don’t, because those guys are dedicated to their craft and would probably LOVE to have more time to work with coaches and learn the system.

    Another thing, the refs need to be held accountable for their performances as well. If they’re terrible they need to be demoted. Why are they so untouchable? Is the league really that worried about the appearance of improper officiating that they just let it keep happening while claiming it doesn’t? Wouldn’t it show MORE dedication to getting it right to hold these guys accountable? Force them to improve or lose their job?

    Go up to a 65 player active roster. Have them practice more. That will bring back the quality of play and people may start to watch again.

  12. They need to make serious changes to rosters and schedules if they do imho….They have to obviously cut back pre season games first off……secondly rosters are decimated with injuries now , they need to expand game day rosters to 60 and or expand practice squads to 8-10 players or possibly let practice squad players be playable on game days. I for one dont like it …Its beginning to be a watered down product that messes with the integrity of the game……..Then again this is the NFL…..so integrity is out………bad idea

  13. Quality of play will suffer. Of course, quality cannot be monetized, so why should the owners care?

    As much as we all hate preseason games, they do serve a purpose, which is to give playing time to the bottom end of the roster. All of the UDFA’s use preseason to try and play their way onto a roster. With only two preseason games, teams are going to feel compelled to play their starters sufficiently to shake the rust out. When those starters get injured (which they will – 18 games full of NFL collisions is going to take a toll), they will be replaced by backups who haven’t taken enough meaningful reps.

  14. If the owners want 18 & 2 then as players get what you want…this is what I’d ask for.

    1. Salary increase of 15 to 20%, with a 50% guarantee of total contract value. I have a feeling that careers will be shorter and we’ll see more career ending injuries week 17 & 18. (I could see the owners trying to get them to divide current salary by 18 vs current 16.)

    2. End Thursday night football

    3. Set fine schedule. Sorry hitting a defenseless player can’t be 25K for one player and 15K for another.

    4. Goodell must resign. Players union gets 25% vote for all future commissioners.

  15. This would be a final nail in the coffin for me.

    Teams are already poorly prepared at the start of the season from the reduced OTAs and camp limits.

    Two preseason games is not enough to assess the bottom part of your roster, especially low round and undrafted players.

    And imagine if you are a new head coach and have the reduced OTAs and offseason and only 2 game to install your systems. Any new head coach might as well assume the first season will be a disaster.

    Not to mention the first several games would have a terrible level of play.

    Greed and corruption are killing the NFL.

  16. Here is what the NFLPA will suggest: expanded playoffs.
    the format:
    week 1: bottom ranked 16 teams play each other, top 16 get a bye.
    week 2: winners of week 1 play bottom ranked 8 teams with bye in first round.
    week 3: winners of week two play top ranked teams with bye in week 2.
    week 4: remaining 4 teams play each other.
    week 5: bye for last 2 teams,
    week 6: super bowl between remaining two teams, proceeded by game between bottom ranked two teams.

    That way we can get more snoozefest games between lousy teams, and, have a crappy game to start SB weekend.

    GET AFTER IT, D. SMITH.

    /sarc/

  17. .
    ” the NFLPA realizes that everything is negotiable. ”
    ____

    An absolute falsehood……… Only lawyers have the ” everything is negotiable ” mentality.
    .

  18. Why stop there? Let’s go with a 46 game season and let everyone qualify for the playoffs. That would leave us with a 2 week offseason and then we could start all over again.

  19. Go to 17 games and bye weeks. The 17th game can be a neutral site, both domestic and internationally. You think Bronccos-Seahawks on the smurf turf in Boise wouldn’t be a big deal? How about Eagles-Steelers at Happy Valley? Cowboys-Chiefs at Norman? Patriots-Giants in Montreal? The possibilities are endless.

  20. I love football. I consume football 24/7/365

    Guess what. Even I don’t want to see an 18 game season.

    I don’t want to see an expanded playoffs.

    I want high quality games with high profile non injured players.

  21. Goodell never figured out that the league is balanced between owners, players, and fans. And so he drove fans into the player camp. We will support any sort of strike or other collective action if it drives that fool out and makes the owners realize that we want real football and football players, not endless social engineering broken up by car commercials.

  22. You know why this will never happen? Because every record will be broken and the old school players that hold these records will get pissed you know why this will never happen? Because every record will be broken and old school players that hold these records will get pissed.

  23. How about add nothing, idiots. In fact, it’s time to contract the number of teams, get rid of TNF (except the opener – that format works), and focus on the quality of the game.

    BTW, Hillary voters, you cannot be “overpaid” in a free market. The market bears what it will. Thus, the players are paid exactly their value in the marketplace. In fact, the football player pool is a freer market than you and I have to deal with, because the NFL isn’t bound by the same ridiculous EEOC regulations.

  24. Are the players too stupid to realize it’s the same number of games. It’s just two more that count and 2 less that don’t.

    2 Preseason games are enough.

  25. Stop blaming Goodell for the greed of the owners. He is simply the vehicle the owners use to coalesce their collective position in a singular voice. Football fans – typically not too bright.

  26. Just wait till a team is 10-0 in its division and everyone else is 4-6 or worse… So the 10-0 team starts resting players for the next 8 games…. Talk about a crappy product.

  27. 1. Fire Goodell
    2. Players are breaking down at an increasing rate.
    3. Increase number of players per team
    4. leads to more commercials to pay for these players.
    Greedy owners will want more, more, more
    5. Screw that

  28. Look at the list of injuries now, and players already out for the year. You go to 18 games your going to see a lot of Not NFL quality players on the field, and playing in the playoffs. Leave it alone you Greedy NFL owners.

  29. The League is failing miserably with 16 game.

    Injuries have skyrocketed overall quality of play is down.

    How do they expect going to 18 will make things better??

    We may finally see a player die on the field with a 18 game schedule, that should really get ratings up for all these neanderthal American now days.

  30. I’m going to put on my Roger Goodell hat here and say to all you idiots thinking 18 games is great — I will rule with my iron fist and TELL you what’s best for you… stick with the 16 game format. We already have teams out of the playoff hunt by week 7, imagine what adding 2 more games does in terms of bringing irrelevant, boring, unwatchable football to our TV screens. And expanding the playoffs? LOL, last year was pathetic enough just think when the first 6-10 team crashes the playoff party and gets their doors blown out the first wildcard weekend. I’ve had it with the clownshow on Park Ave.

    Screw it bring in 20 games, expand the playoffs to 30 teams and add franchises to London, Brazil, Beijing and Mexico City. It’s the right thing to do!

  31. 18 games means larger rosters; larger game day actives; larger practice squads; larger salary cap. Additional bye week for all teams. If NFLPA and NFL can agree to that it might happen.

    Players will not get paid more. However; more players will get paid.

    One of the biggest issues talentwise is the lack of a minor league for NFL. Larger rosters and larger practice squad could alleviate some of those issues. Thus an 18 game schedule could help actually improve quality of play.

  32. I’m certain that any neutral arbitrator would find Kap guilty of pointing out the opportunity for liberty and justice for all is before us now.

  33. With the amount of injuries and players go on IR. By the time the playoffs start you won’t see half the starters from opening day. This greed is ridicolous and it will ruin the NFL.

  34. While they are at it, how about more points of emphasis to ensure more penalties and fines. That’s what everyone wants to see.

    And instead of introducing players by position and college team, let’s have them say their name and the political and social issue of most importance to them because all NFL fans care about athletes stances on the issues.

  35. Matt from San Diego says:
    Oct 29, 2016 10:04 AM

    The issue with Primetime is that I don’t care about your stupid team.
    ———————————————————–
    Monday Night Football has been a success forever, so your argument doesn’t hold water.

    Thursday Night Football has generally featured poor performances based on the short week of preparation and recovery, and it this is the game a lot of fans could do without.

  36. “also stream the games for free and charge more for ads”

    They’ll never stream the games for free and they can’t charge more for ads (with diminished ratings). What they CAN do is add even MORE commercial time to increase revenue. Why wait for change of possession for a TV timeout? Why not everytime a team gets a first down?

  37. Goodell says he cares about head injuries yet has added more gamedays per week and is now pushing for a longer season and possibly expanded playoffs. Wouldn’t expect anything less. #integrity

  38. That would be such a huge mistake that of course they’ll try to do it. This is not that hard to figure out, there’s already too much crappy football, and it’s on too much. Get rid of TNF, nobody wants it!

    Add another bi week, let them practice more, expand the roster size and flex in the best games for prime time. If you can’t be bothered to field a decent team, you don’t deserve a prime time slot. Hire the refs full time with time to study and practice during the off season, adopt an instant review system like the NHL and fire refs that can’t do the job.

  39. Anyone can see this is clearly in response to demands from Fantasy Football. 14 weeks plus 2 postseason weeks just isn’t enough, and clearly thats why half the population watches games anyway.

  40. NFLPA: Subtract a preseason game, abolish Thursday, make two bye weeks, shift the revenue split 2% toward players.

    NFL: Play 18 games and kiss our you know what.

  41. If they go to an 18-game regular season, I’ll be done watching the NFL. I know people here won’t believe me, but it’s true. I’m actually looking forward to the multitude of things I could do with that extra time on my hands.

  42. The NFLPA is going to have sore muscles from “Bracing” for something five years before they sit down at the negotiating table. Realistically, they might be licking their chops considering the leverage they have over the league’s frenzied “18 games” mentality, but I seriously doubt they’re breaking a sweat over it at this stage in the process.

  43. “I am from Minnesota dude, my team is 10x more entertaining both on and off the field than virtually any other team in the NFL, why should I downgrade my entertainment?”
    ——
    Yeah, it’s real entertaining watching the offensive line do their best matador impression and Bradford’s resulting “deer in the headlights” look. Not to mention Asiata’s 2 yards and a cloud of dust-like substance. Very “entertaining”.

  44. Iknowitall says:
    Oct 29, 2016 9:44 AM
    Yes, more regular season games, less ripoff preseason games.

    Players are overpaid anyway, add two more games to make them really earn their salaries.

    Two more games for the Patriots to cheat in .

    Two more games to see blatantly poor officiating.

    Two more games to be confused about what is really a catch

    ————————-

    Let’s face it. You just hate football and only watch it so you can wallow in hatereds. A guy that loves to be miserable.

  45. I don’t why people would not want to trade two preseason game for two regular season games. Preseason blows.

  46. Fine a guy for making a hit that injured another player.
    Add more games for more injuries.
    Yeah. Makes perfect sense to me.

  47. So much for the concern about player safety and long term health effects by the NFL and it’s seemingly indifferent fans. The amounts of injuries this season and the overall amateurish playing level of teams who at times seemed to have completely quit in the middle of a game(looking at you Jaguar players) is only going to get worse with an 18 game schedule. Time to bail on pro football and find better things to do with one’s time and money.

  48. From a revenue perspective, each team has a 20 game schedule. The NFL doesn’t want to have more games, and neither do the players. The NFL and the players simply want to make more $$.

    The obvious solution is to do the following :

    1 ) Each team has 2 bye weeks. This will extend the TV revenue one more week, without playing an additional game.

    2 ) Reduce the preseason games by 1, which takes us to 3 pre-season games, and 17 game season. Again, no additional overall games and the fans get an additional regular season game.

    3 ) Extend a week to the playoffs by adding another 2 teams per conference. In this scenario 4 teams get a bye in week 1 of the playoffs. This will extend TV revenue one more week.

  49. First off, the slide in viewership has nothing to do with there being too much football. It has everything to do with there being too much NON-football! If we want to watch politics, we’ll turn to non-sports channels.

    I have no problem with going to 18 games, but can the preseason altogether. Otherwise, leave the games at 16 and cut the preseason to 2 games.

    One item of contention is going to be getting rid of the dictatorial powers of the Commish. The suspension of Brady was totally absurd. The messing around with the players and teams over “allegations” of incidents off the field is likewise absurd. Just let the teams deal with it as they deem fit. If there is a conviction, then the league, in accordance with a well defined policy (and not the whim of the Commish) can deal with the player.

    Goodell may have been great getting lucrative TV contracts for the owners, but he is destroying the credibility of the league itself. And the players are going to insist that the CBA get really specific so that everyone knows ahead of time what infractions warrant what punishment. And, no, the Commish won’t be the one reviewing his own rulings!

  50. You know what? If the NFL considers themselves America’s pastime then let’s see them sustain fan interest over a 162 game regular season. Too much? Okay, 82 games. I kid of course but jesus mary and joseph any bargaining begins and ends with dropping the horrible Thursday night failed experiment.

  51. The NFL is based on gambling, don’t fool yourselves. With the advent of daily fantasy and the NFL getting in bed with that adding two more games after two more from 14 to 16 make perfect sense and quite honestly, why bother hiding the true intent and just go to 20, 22, 24………….. This league used to be good at BSing the public but now they just flaunt the fact they care about the bottom line and don’t give a hoot about player safety, domestic violence or any of the myriad of phony causes they claim to promote.

  52. willycents says:
    Oct 29, 2016 10:32 AM

    Here is what the NFLPA will suggest: expanded playoffs.
    the format:
    week 1: bottom ranked 16 teams play each other, top 16 get a bye.
    week 2: winners of week 1 play bottom ranked 8 teams with bye in first round.
    week 3: winners of week two play top ranked teams with bye in week 2.
    week 4: remaining 4 teams play each other.
    week 5: bye for last 2 teams,
    week 6: super bowl between remaining two teams, proceeded by game between bottom ranked two teams.

    That way we can get more snoozefest games between lousy teams, and, have a crappy game to start SB weekend.

    GET AFTER IT, D. SMITH.

    /sarc/
    ———————————————–
    In week 4 you missed 4 teams, they just drop out and are never heard from again.

    results:
    week 1: 8 winners, 16 teams on Bye
    week 2: 8 winners, 8 teams on Bye
    week 3: 8 winners
    week 4: Who are the 4 teams not playing?

    You need another week in there.

  53. Have a 24 game schedule, no preseason, 96 man roster, and no player can suit up for more than 18 of the games. Win for everyone. Almost double the work force, double the money from advertisers…and we the public would probably stop watching in droves.

  54. hyprcaffeinated says:
    Oct 29, 2016 11:44 AM
    While they are at it, how about more points of emphasis to ensure more penalties and fines. That’s what everyone wants to see.

    And instead of introducing players by position and college team, let’s have them say their name and the political and social issue of most importance to them because all NFL fans care about athletes stances on the issues.

    ———————–

    It shouldn’t just be politics, there should be lighter stuff in there too..
    likes/dislikes, favorite binge food, favorite color, favorite artist, ideal dream date, and the TD celebration they would do if allowed (put a 45 second limit on these)

  55. pancaketaco says:
    Oct 29, 2016 10:31 AM
    If the owners want 18 & 2 then as players get what you want…this is what I’d ask for.

    1. Salary increase of 15 to 20%, with a 50% guarantee of total contract value. I have a feeling that careers will be shorter and we’ll see more career ending injuries week 17 & 18. (I could see the owners trying to get them to divide current salary by 18 vs current 16.)

    2. End Thursday night football

    3. Set fine schedule. Sorry hitting a defenseless player can’t be 25K for one player and 15K for another.

    4. Goodell must resign. Players union gets 25% vote for all future commissioners.

    ——————————-

    Long term care

  56. Love to see 18 games but a player can only play a maximum of 16 games. Love to see the tactical moves with it.

  57. The whole problem of terrible preseason games could be solved by 2 common sense and PR friendly steps. First, allow season ticket holders the right to decline preseason games….like is done for the playoffs. Second, substantially reduce the price of preseason games to reflect what they are really worth. Check Reseller sites to see the absurdity in current preseason ticket pricing. These steps will allow non-season ticket holders, who can’t afford regular season prices, to take their families to preseason NFL games if they choose. The pressure to change the embarrassing preseason charade would be diminished. The 4 game preseason could remain and players could keep the 16 game regular season schedule. Never gonna happen though. The owners don’t want to give up the easy cash they are extorting from their season ticket base and the players don’t want to change the status quo unless they get paid. As a result, this logical and customer friendly approach has zero chance of ever happening. One would have thought that the whole preseason charade would have been exposed last year, when they abandoned a preseason game in KC because of weather and never completed it. Why this did not get traction as an example of what the NFL really thinks about the importance of these games is a mystery. Doesn’t stop them from charging full price for them though. Money, Money and more Money.

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