Gambling could renew push for 18-game season

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With the 49 states that currently don’t have sports wagering now able to launch it, the NFL’s word of choice is “integrity.” As sports wagering takes root, the NFL will have another go-to term.

“More.”

Yes, the dormant push for an expanded regular season surely will return, as the NFL realizes that 256 regular-season games will be great for betting — and that 288 will be even greater.

The NFL dropped the issue, at least publicly, once it became clear more games couldn’t be reconciled with the heightened sensitivity to player health and safety. But the issue undoubtedly lingers, with the NFL likely hoping that it will come up organically and naturally as the league and the union begin to negotiate a new CBA in earnest.

Will the NFL Players Association ever go for it? Possibly, if it comes with more efforts to enhance player safety. Expanded rosters, for example, would help. And don’t rule out a possibility that first came up several years ago: A total of 18 regular-season games per team, with maximum participation of 16 games per player.

That would incorporate more layers and levels of strategy into the week-to-week marathon, with coaches adopting a suicide-pool mentality to determining the right time to rest key players. Of course, injuries will help make the decisions easier, with guys who would have missed at least two games anyway having the chance to make up the two games and get to 16. Players who are dinged up but otherwise would be able to play will be more likely to get a game off, especially during the annual short-week game.

However it plays out, the concept of a larger regular season hadn’t died before gambling became something that states could legalize. As that process happens, the urgency to capture two more weeks of TV, ticket, and gambling revenue will give both the league and the union an incentive to come up with a way to make it work.

Don’t be surprised if, by 2021 if not sooner, it does.

48 responses to “Gambling could renew push for 18-game season

  1. So let me get this straight….

    When it could potentially COST the League money, i.e. concussion lawsuits and negative publicity, they try to take drastic measures and alter the game itself by reducing the impact of and probably eventually completely eliminating the kickoff.

    When it could MAKE the League money, they want to run these guys out there for an extra 120 minutes of football, a sport we already know takes a heavy physical toll on the players over the course of the current 16 game season, and I’m sure they’ll lowball the hell out of the NFLPA as far as extra compensation.

    Ok, got it.

    This League gets ethically harder for me to watch by the year, and I’m not even a person who gets all up in arms about other people’s business.

  2. Expanded rosters and everyone dresses. That is a good starting point.

    The 16 game rule might sound good but how do you sit Brady or Brees etc without the gambling crowd going nuts? That changes the spread dramatically. So whoever is creating the spread on Monday for the following week, when are they notified or the betters notified? When the team does first team reps? Or does Belichick get cute and give the first team reps to someone else (I think Brady would survive) and then play Brady?

    That is one huge obstacle. You will never see the 16 game rule. Guys are paid to compete and want to (or should want to). Fans pay to see the best, not the backup, if the best is fit to play. Gamblers will go nuts betting the Pats at -14 at home against the Jets and Brian Hoyer lines up to take the first snap. Not happening.

  3. I think the Don Yee idea works if you expand rosters to allow for more regular position players to swap in and out, and as for the specialists – well, frankly the punter, kicker and long snapper play so few snaps they should be expected to play all 18 regular season games and sit out 2 preseason games if necessary.

  4. Absolutely, remember it’s all about player safely. Although I could see a future in the NFL when basically all contact is outlawed. Then 162 game seasons baby! Just think of all that money. Some days the hypocrisy of the NFL knows no bounds.

  5. An 18 game season would require 2, if not, 3 BYE Weeks. The physical toll on those players would be way too much, at least give them breaks throughout the year…

  6. All for it…….

    19 game regular season, pre-season games replaced by more pre-season inter-squad practice scrimmages, keep a 90 man roster year round, with a 55 man gameday roster, and a ‘practice squad’ of 35 guys to play a ‘Spring League’ tournament between the Super Bowl and July 4th……

    Give guys under current contract the option of playing a 16 game season, but if they wanted to they could play 19 games voluntarily with 3/16ths additional pay. Teams would then have the ability to go to the ‘Spring League’ roster to fill in for those guys who only wanted to play 16 games.

    This would also solve the ‘London’ problem, and give teams like The Jags the option of playing 7 home games in Florida, and 4 in London. It would also give teams the option to playing a valuable extra 9th home game, and the NFL would have 40 odd slots to play more games in Mexico, Milwaukee, Orlando or wherever the hell else……..

    I’ve always thought pre-season games were a compete rip-off anyways, and why the hell would you spend all that time recruiting 90 guys in April, and fire 27 of them in August ?????

    Just do it NFL……..

  7. What a convoluted non starter of an idea.

    What says player safety more than adding two more games of having their brains and bodies rattled so gamblers can indulge in their addiction for a couple more weeks

    What says integrity more than sitting all your starters for several games a season so that some games become essentially meaningless give aways with a backup quarterback and second string defense on the field.

    Talk about killing the game.

  8. Here’s the solution (and I’ve been saying this for years): dump two of the exhibition/preseason games and add those two games to the regular season. This way you have exactly the same amount of games as you have now, only two more of them count. You have two exhibition/preseason games and 18 regular season games. Problem solved.

  9. Yeah but 2/16ths more prob games won’t result in 2/16ths more wagers, whereas extending the season with an extra bye week would provide an extra weekend of betting. An extra bye week also makes it easier to have games on other days too. For example a Sunday game could be moved to Tuesday or any night if the teams involved had a bye week the next weekend.

    Basically, games on more days would garner more wagers without needing each team to actually play more games – and I think all fans (I’m no gambler) would enjoy extra days with games on TV, and all players would like the extra bye, and a Tuesday etc night game would raise extra TV ad revenue. Seems like a win, win, win.

  10. What would the scheduling formula be for an 18 game season? The current formula for 16 games is 6 divisional games, 1 division per conference and 2 strength of schedule games against the 2 in-conference teams who finished the previous season in the same divisional position (1/1, 2/2…). So what would the new formula be like? I can see 19 but not 18.

    Why do people have the audacity to presume they speak for “all fans”? I don’t want football games every night of the week and think they need to get rid of Thursday night games. So, no, “all fans” don’t want games on other days.

  11. Just give each time a second off-week. Same 18 week schedule, but with more rest for players. Anything else, and you KNOW the NFL does not care about player safety.

  12. The simple solution to create more TV revenue and increase player safety is to expand from a 17 week, 16 game season (1 bye) to an 18 week, 16 game season (2 byes). The schedule can then be arranged so that teams have a bye before every Thursday game.
    It’s not hard, gets an additional week of programming, and allows proper recovery between games.

  13. If legalized gambling ends up being the impetus for expanding the regular season to 18 games, it will be a signal to players and fans that the integrity of the game is for sale; in other words, gone.

    After all the supposed concern from the league office about player safety (forcing every team to play on a short week excluded of course), this coming to fruition would once and for all expose that as nothing but hype.

    The suggestion of an 18 games schedule while only allowing a maximum of 16 games per player is a non-starter. The jumbling of the roster involved with that, along with injuries forcing players already at the limit back on to the active roster or field of play is simply not feasible, and hurts the integrity of the game. Fans are being asked to pay through the nose already, and now we show up or tune to find out we’re getting less than the best our team can put on the field? No way.

    Some changes to the game are necessary for player safety, or just improving the quality of the product. Allowing legalized gambling to force these type of changes on the game soils the product and invites players and coaches to throw games for a cut of the profits.

    Any changes made to the rules of the game which are initiated by legalized gambling should automatically be rejected the NFL. Otherwise, the league will be heading down the path of the WWF.

  14. The NFL may go to a longer season at some point, but I don’t see how gambling truly affects that at all. Wouldn’t the NFL changing season length (for gambling) indicate that they have zero integrity in regards to gambling?

  15. I am all for adding two more games per season if the league lets the Pats play their two against the cream-puff AFC North teams.

    Heck, maybe the league could make both games against the Steelers so the Pats could conceivable beat up on them 3 times per year and potentially 1 more time in the postseason.

  16. Chris Doherty says:
    May 18, 2018 at 9:04 am

    The simple solution to create more TV revenue and increase player safety is to expand from a 17 week, 16 game season (1 bye) to an 18 week, 16 game season (2 byes). The schedule can then be arranged so that teams have a bye before every Thursday game.
    It’s not hard, gets an additional week of programming, and allows proper recovery between games.
    =============================================================

    Actually, the NFL tried this already, for one season, several seasons back. It actually got to be a drag, with the numbers of games on the weekly schedule reduced to 10 during the middle of the season. I don’t think most fans enjoyed it because the NFL never did it again after that season.

  17. I don’t think they should extend the regular season at all. I think 16 games is plenty and who wants 2 extra games to worry about your players getting hurt? I do think they should add an additional bye week to the 16 game regular season though, the reason is they could easily extend the season another week.

  18. Ok Florio, so owners are going to expand the regular season for more money then turn around and spend the money on players because of a 16 game limit?

    This makes ZERO sense from a financial standpoint.

  19. I would really feel cheated after paying top dollar to go to a game and find out my favorite players are going to be rested that week!

  20. Catering to people with an addiction doesn’t seem too smart. Heck, they don’t need an 18 NFL season they can just bet on high school games. Oh wait, they already do.

  21. flviking says:
    May 18, 2018 at 9:40 am

    College does not have preseason games and they do just fine. 18 game season, no preseason games.

    With the new CBA limiting time with players the NFL coaches are complaining about the lack of time to develop players. The veterans will be fine but the rookies/young players have a large learning curve.

  22. “the urgency to capture two more weeks of TV, ticket, and gambling revenue”
    _____________________

    Sorry, but where is this gambling revenue to the league going to come from? Yes, they’ve asked the states for a cut but there’s no sign any state is actually going to do that–they absolutely don’t have to give the NFL a dime which almost certainly means they won’t. And there’s no way the NFL would be allowed to run their own sports books which would be the only other way to make anything off gambling. You don’t magically make money just because bets are placed on your games.

  23. Open wagering will be the demise of the NFL. They have ongoing problems with substance abuse, but can hold on to control through random testing. You can’t ‘test’ for beeting or receiving loose money. It’s a magnet for players/coaches anyway you cut it. It will destroy the NFL.

  24. v2787 says:
    May 18, 2018 at 5:46 am

    Here’s the solution (and I’ve been saying this for years): dump two of the exhibition/preseason games and add those two games to the regular season. This way you have exactly the same amount of games as you have now, only two more of them count. You have two exhibition/preseason games and 18 regular season games. Problem solved.
    ———————————————————————————-
    Just cuz you’ve been saying it for years doesnt make it right………….starters for preseason games rarely play 4 quarters of football the entire preseason, theres no reason to add more games.

  25. I don’t want more games if it’s going to lower the quality of play. This game has so much toll on the bodies of the players. 2 more games, plus players that play in the playoffs….woofta.

  26. Expand out to 36, place expansion teams in San Diego, Oakland, St. Louis, and San Antonio.

    Go back to two conferences of six divisions and have six-team divisions.

    Re-open off-season workouts, reduce pre-season games to two, expand the season to 18 games, and have two bye-weeks.

  27. 18 is fine. If you get rid of two preseason games, the number of games played does not go down. Injuries occur in preseason games, so you would replace those with injuries in regular season games. Don’t act like you wouldn’t watch those games.

  28. alonestartexan says:
    May 18, 2018 at 12:09 pm
    Expand out to 36, place expansion teams in San Diego, Oakland, St. Louis, and San Antonio.

    Go back to two conferences of six divisions and have six-team divisions.

    Re-open off-season workouts, reduce pre-season games to two, expand the season to 18 games, and have two bye-weeks.

    ———

    Expand? They can’t even field more than 16-20 decent teams now….let alone find competent coaches.

  29. Sounds like a way for the league to make more money, while reducing the level of play if no one can start more than 16 games even when healthy.

  30. Keep tinkering NFL and you will soon go the way of NASCAR. Does anyone watch that anymore?

  31. I wonder if the end game of this is all a trade off, or at least an attempt to.
    The NFL will go to the players: We’ve done a, b and c to make the game safer. Gambling has helped raise the new salary cap to $XXX million. We just want 2 more games in return.

  32. Why dont they just give teams 2 bye weeks, then you could have the same number of games, but an 18 week season(Its currently 17 weeks). Teams would have the same number of games, but there would be an additional week of television revenue.

  33. No way the nfl should increase games unless you wanna see a playoffs full of UDFA’s.

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