After not saying much about the obviously subpar preseason for a while, the Commissioner has now mentioned twice in two weeks: (1) that the preseason stinks; and (2) that he’d like to shrink the preseason from four games to three.
Via ESPN.com, Roger Goodell said Monday at a Cardinals fan forum that he doesn’t believe preseason games match the quality of the regular season “by any stretch of the imagination.” Roger Goodell also said that he has asked Cardinals coach Bruce Arians whether a team can get players ready with only three preseason games, and that Arians said it’s possible.
It’s not simply possible for the NFL to reduce the preseason to three games, it’s definite. The league has the unilateral right to shrink the preseason without negotiation or bargaining with the players. The league hasn’t done that yet because the league isn’t confident that the NFL Players Association would react to the loss of revenue by saying, “Let’s add a regular-season game.”
With the NFL unable to reconcile more games that count with player health and safety, the league needs the players to offer to play an extra game without prompting. These repeated references to three preseason games are the bait. Goodell and the league will now wait to see whether the players eventually take it.