Mark Murphy: NFL can’t justify increasing length of season

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It’s the topic that will subside, but that will never completely go away: The 18-game season.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at one point openly politicked for it, trashing the quality of the preseason to justify a shift from four preseason games and 16 regular-season games to two and 18. Once the NFL became more serious about player healthy and safety, open chatter about an expanded season ended.

Recently, Packers CEO Mark Murphy reiterated his concerns about the impact of more games on the well-being of the players.

“On the 18-game season, with the concerns about health and safety, we can’t justify increasing the season,” Murphy told Peter King of

Murphy has made a similar comment at least three times before.

“I think with all the concern about player health and safety, it would be difficult to go from 16 regular-season games to 18,” Murphy said in 2015. “One of the things that has kind of been looked at is, do we reduce the number of games overall [to] three preseason games and 16 regular-season games? But obviously there’s a loss of revenue that comes with that.”

In 2013, Murphy said the same thing: “I think with all the concerns about the health and safety of players, it’s hard to justify,” Murphy said this week. “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.”

In 2012, Murphy said the same thing: “I couldn’t support a move to 18 [regular-season games] and two [preseason games]. With the focus on player safety, it would be really hard to support that.”

Throughout the last four years, the sense nevertheless has lingered that an expanded regular season is inevitable. And the NFL Players Association seems to be willing to entertain a proposal for a larger regular season, if for no reason other than to see what the NFL would give up in order to get more games.

At some point, the growth of international games will require teams like the Packers to give up home games — unless the NFL increases the total inventory of games. A middle ground of 17 could make sense, since it would give all teams the ability to play eight home games, eight road games, and one neutral-site game.

Either way, Murphy’s opinion represents one vote. If 24 of the other 31 disagree, and if a deal can be struck with the NFLPA, the season will expand.

35 responses to “Mark Murphy: NFL can’t justify increasing length of season

  1. 3 exhibition games, 17 game season. each team plays 1 neutral site game. that’ll give the NFL 16 games to export to london, toronto, vancouver, mexico city, mars, marianna’s trench, brazil, germany, and wherever else. No one loses a home game, foreign markets are satisfied, and realistically, its only 1 more game.

  2. If you think the quality of early season especially Thursday night games is bad now, wait till there are only 2 preseason games.

    That does not in any way give the coaches enough time to evaluate the lower part of the roster. Does not give rookies and young players new to a system enough time to even have a fighting chance of playing well.

    And if your team has a new head coach / coaching staff? Forget about it. You will be guaranteed an awful season with your new coach because he will not have enough time to install and teach his system.

    This will be a death knell for the NFL if they implement it.

  3. You can while still satisfying those who don’t want the extra games burden. You increase roster sizes, limit each player, except for specialty players (K, P, LS) to 16 games active, and increase roster size (65?) to allow a 46 man game active roster the 18 game schedule.

    The benefits to this would be financial for the league, another home game for each team and more TV revenues, with more players getting paid a minimum and the top players getting paid yet more. There would be a kind of baseball manager style strategy to making a lineup, perhaps based on matchups, but more often likely related to health. You could develop more players, especially QBs, with every team needing to start a backup at least 2 games.

  4. Keep tinkering and keep losing fans. Greed will be the undoing of the NFL. They switch to 18 game schedule, I’ll be completely done. I only watched my team this year anyway.

  5. NFL finds way to justify everything. Just like when the patriots will get caught cheating again, sigh, nothing will happen. It will just prove once again NFL is “entertainment” and they will lose a lot of fan base. But on a patriot sidenote (or asterisk) your team can cheat and you still lose games………pathetic.

  6. That opinion illustrates one of the many differences between being the CEO of a ‘non profit’ team and an owner that pockets the profit

  7. I personally would love 18 games. Go to two preseason games and 18 regular games, and increase the roster limit from 53 to 65.

  8. I wonder if his opposition is based upon not changing the current roster rules. Adding roster spots for the first eight games while only allowing players to be active for 16 games maximum, would be a good way to off set any concerns. Also killing Thursday night games (other than Thanksgiving) would be beneficial.

  9. The NFL has much bigger problems to deal with, first, such as inept refs (selectively calling/not calling penalties at the end of a game which directly alter the results), a ridiculous replay system that’s afraid to make the correct call and increased commercial breaks slowing down the game.
    In the interest of player health & safety mandate that ALL players wear the concussion-resistant big helmets AND knee braces… minimize season/career ending concussions and ACL’s. There’s no advantage if ALL players wear the same equipment.

  10. Any increase in games will demand an expanded roster and practice squad…..the NFL has become s league of attrition. They also need to look at the IR policy…with an expanded longer season, injured players should be able to come back with out the team having to keep hat player on the roster, they should be able to bring a player off the practice squad til that player returns and not penalize the team.

  11. They also need to look at the targeting rule that college football has adopted, if a player gets two personal fouls in one game they should be ejected automatically.

  12. Who would you play the other 2 games? Schedule is division home and away. Random AFC and NFC division and other 2 division teams in your conference who finished where you finished. I guess it would have to be the other conference division team who finished where you finished.

  13. “Just like when the patriots will get caught cheating again, sigh, nothing will happen. ”

    What like when the Fins cheated last weekend calling out snap counts during FG and XP attempts?

    The Fins have the longest and most extensive history of cheating in the league since the merger Chippy.

  14. ariani1985 says:
    Dec 14, 2016 11:45 AM
    But Mark, you can still shove the fake stock down your fanbase or threaten to move the team and that’s ok?

    arianus… have it all wrong. The Packers aren’t going anywhere. The souvenir stock was all purchased voluntarily, all 360,000 worldwide shares.

    The Vikings couldn’t give away 360,000 cheap ballpoint pens if their lives depended on it.

    Maybe you’re thinking of the Viking Legacy Bricks that cost more than the stock, when the Vikings legitimately threatened to move? Could that be it?

  15. Keep tinkering and keep losing fans. Greed will be the undoing of the NFL. They switch to 18 game schedule, I’ll be completely done. I only watched my team this year anyway.
    Seriously? That’s your breaking point? Teams having to play two more games in a year? Like it would be so horrible to have to watch your team play two more times?

    Oh, wait… are you a Niners fan? I get it then.

  16. Aren’t teams going towards a pricing model where preseason games are actually priced as preseason games?

    You can’t say the goal is to maximize revenue. If it were the 18-game season would already be in place. So get over losing some preseason games and take the long view for a change.

  17. What do early season games have in common with Thursday Nite games?
    That’s right, they both suck.

    Football is very complex, don’t cut back on preparation time.

  18. Here is a way to raise revenue – Each team plays a game against fans.

    Imagine how much fun it would be to get pancaked and stomped by Suh or Khalil Mack or Von Miller.

    Imagine how much fun it would be to get flattened by Joe Thomas or Tyron Smith.

    Best of all would be stopping a running back. Try stopping Adrian Peterson, or Ezekiel Elliot or LaGarret Blount by yourself.

    That would be fun to watch.
    I’d enjoy it.

  19. Expand the season by 1 week but do NOT add any games. Give teams another bye week to get healthy. Make it so that all teams have a bye week prior to playing a Thursday game. Make it so that each team has at least 6-7 weeks between their bye weeks so you get one in the first half and one in the second half.

    Pros: Addresses player safety concerns about Thursday games. Increases chances of Thursday games being fun to watch since teams have adequate time to prepare and get healthy. Adds one more weekend of ad revenue for the NFL (fans won’t care about that but the NFL sure would.)

    Cons: The two teams who play Thursday in Week 2 get screwed into having a Week 1 Bye. But at least they get something like a Week 10 Bye later in the season.

  20. I love the out-of-the-box idea of playing 18 games, but only allowing each player to play 16 games.

    Imagine the intrigue if you knew your backup quarterback had to start two games. This year, that would mean Romo would get two starts.
    Imagine all the qb controversies this would spawn around the league, the intrigue around when to start the backup.

    Would Belichick rest Brady against the Cleveland Browns, for example, figuring he could beat them with anybody under center?

    It’s a crazy idea, but it would give us an 18-game season, while protecting the players, and dialing up the drama and happy chaos that is already the NFL.

  21. If I were commissioner:

    -Eliminate TNF completely (Only Thanksgiving games)
    -16 games, 2 byes (creates another week)
    -One London game every other year and that’s it
    -Eliminate 2-point run back (that’s a college thing)
    -Season pushed back a week and with 2 byes SB is played on President’s weekend.
    -Saturday football for weeks 15-17 – 4:30 and 8
    – Playoffs expanded to 7 teams per league, only one team gets bye. There’s the revenue to make up for TNF
    -Win your division you’re in the playoffs but if the wildcard has a better record you go on the road.

  22. You know why I don’t respect Vikings fans. Beyond any other fans this team who has never won anything spend more time bashing other teams. Reading up on their rivals and trying to say negative things about them than they do supporting or lifting up their own team.

    All fans trash other teams, but no fan does more trashing than they do supporting except the damn Vikings fans. They are more haters than they are fans of their own team and it makes them pathetic.

  23. I’d rather they expand playoffs than regular season.

    7 teams, top seed gets Bye.

    Then the extra games we get will be with competitive teams and not crapfests like we’ve gotten a lot of this year. It also would keep some teams in it slightly longer and keep games later in the year competitive.

  24. Mark,

    Fix whats wrong in your own backyard before trying to fix the Leagues problems!!

    The days of Aaron Rodgers carrying your organization to greatness are OVER!!!

    – signed,
    Packers Owner [yes, I know, insert joke here]

  25. I think the best way is it keep things like they are with a 16 game season. Do we really think adding two more weeks of football will make things that much better?

    Eliminate TNF (if they are truly serious about safety)

    How about this one. Bring back the games in London and play them in places like San Antonio, Vegas, Portland, etc. where they don’t have NFL teams currently.

  26. I never understood this viewpoint. The CFL plays 2 preseason games and 18 regular season games. Subjectively, I wouldn’t say there is a higher rate of injury in the CFL than in the NFL. The players certainly don’t whine about it at all, unlike NFL players.

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