Could NFL use an 18-and-16 approach to the regular season?

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The NFL continues to want an 18-game regular season, as an uncharacteristically candid Jerry Jones recently admitted. But how can the league reconcile playing 18 regular season games with the supposed commitment to player health and safety?

Oh, they can try to tiptoe through the two-less preseason games argument. But with more and more starters playing fewer and fewer preseason games, no one will buy the notion that it’s a zero-sum game to subject starters to 18 regular season games and “only” two preseason contests.

There’s a potential solution that quietly has been making the rounds for several years. Most will scoff upon hearing it for the first time, but it’s possible to warm up to the idea after thinking and talking it through. The concept entails staging 18 regular season games per team but allowing players to participate in no more than 16 each.

That would instantly overcome the health and safety argument, since it would expose players to no more games than they currently play. (That said, injured players who for example miss two games and play 14 under the current structure of the season would potentially miss two games and still play 16.) Kickers and punters, and maybe even quarterbacks (given the protections they enjoy), would be exempt. For everyone one (and possibly for quarterbacks), the limit would be 16.

Think of the strategic challenges and opportunities this would present for creative coaches. Think of the problems it would cause for coaches who don’t know what they’re doing. Think of the possibility of the 2008 Lions and 2017 Browns eventually joining the 1976 Buccaneers as team’s with winless records that no longer would be pointed to as the worst season ever.

While hypothetical for now, the owners remain quietly (or otherwise) committed to expanding the regular season from 16 to 18 games, even if that ultimately means letting players play no more than 16 games in 18.

159 responses to “Could NFL use an 18-and-16 approach to the regular season?

  1. This has been my line of thinking since the idea of expanding the season was first being floated. Expand the season, expand the roster, limit the number of games any given player can play, and add a bit more strategy to the game as you decide when and where to play your players.

  2. Those decrying the 18 game regular season should look at the Australian Football League where full contact tackling is the norm, the game is 80 minutes long, the players without protective equipment and the action virtually non-stop. Their regular season has 22 games with their finals tournament about the same length as the NFL. Perhaps it’s time to evaluate NFL actions against the AFL which has been around far longer and is rapidly expanding.

  3. This idea wouldn’t work. You would have to expand rosters which in turn would be less money for the players. Also fans don’t come to watch second tier players play. Not to mention playing your franchise QB when you can’t play your top blind side tackle.

  4. Super interesting concept, but I don’t need to spend any extra time reading about football. This would take it to the next level.

  5. I actually like this idea. For those players that never come off the field this could be used a break in case they are on the border of not playing but need to have their mandatory two games off. I like the strategy aspect. Even how it relates to Fantasy Football.

  6. So the rule would exempt kickers and quarterbacks? What about the record books? Why don’t they just completely kill football, rebrand and call it something else. Market it to generation X. No tackling, no hard hits, just like a glorified two hand touch. No more grit or toughness, just who can run the fastest.

  7. This assumes there are enough quality players to go around.

    There aren’t even enough today. Magic won’t suddenly happen that creates more NFL quality players.

  8. this has to be the most horrible idea in the history of this site. Fans pay to see the best of the best. Who is going to buy tickets months in advance to see the 3rd string offensive line play or a mix of 1st team, 2nd team and 3rd team.

  9. Hate to say it but it’s all about money. They have to do a cost benefit analysis. Sometimes more is less. In this case it is.

    Greed kills. Greed causes businesses to cut corners and give less of a product. Anytime you give less of a product, you’re on the clock to the end of the road.

    The ONE game you take your kid to, is the one of two games his favorite player does not play. Disappointment is a hard pill to swallow. Minor point but minor points add up.

    Then there is the fantasy and gambling issue.

    Gambling is what put this sport over the top in the 80’s. That’s just a straight up fact as I worked in the biz and saw it before my eyes.

    Sounds fun but again, greed kills…

  10. If there was such a thing as a perfect length to an NFL football season, it would be 16 games. Oh wait, they have that.

    If it ain’t broke don’t “fix” it!

  11. Haha, no. So, instead of paying full price for 20 games and getting 16 true games with real players, you want us to pay for… 20 games and get 16 games with true players. Stop. This is dumb. This is ripe for exploitation.

  12. The 18 game regular-season, forget it, not going to happen. Can guarantee you the players will have very different opinion on how it would affect their health. The two game preseason however, I feel confident saying everybody would get on board with that, both players and fans. Nobody likes preseason.

  13. They can do it but the problem is coaches will actually have to know how to coach. Hockey is just as violent if not more than the NFL and they play 82 games. Why? because they actually use all the players on their team.

    NFL has 52 guys on a squad and only 24 play not counting special teams who get paid to do a 40 yard dash a few times a game. Limit the number of snaps every player can get and the NFL becomes a game of strategy where your backups will actually have to be good because they are guaranteed to get in. That’ll also fix the problem of guys lying to coaches about injuries because they’re afraid of losing their spot if they don’t play.

  14. I know a lot of people are gonna dismiss this because it’s change and there’s no precedent for something like this in sports that I’ve ever heard of… but I will say it’s INTERESTING, if nothing else. It would really add a new wrinkle in strategizing how you use players during the season, kinda like how baseball managers have to manage pitch count and determine how to use their relievers as they approach the end of the season and going into the playoffs.

    I’m not gonna say this is the answer, but I think it’s interesting… certainly not worthy of the-sky-is-falling reaction a lot of people have to any changes to the game.

  15. They’ve screwed around with the game enough already that it’s barely watchable; might as well use your idea so the league can put itself out of its misery.

  16. Would need to increase roster size to accommodate players on the shelf; would mean NFLPA taking a larger percentage of revenues. Owners will love that and definitely go for it.

  17. I vote a big no to this idea.

    I know most people don’t like the preseason but to me as a football fanatic its hard not to see the value in these games. Not for the stars but for the guys who aren’t guaranteed a roster spot. Victor Cruz had a career thanks to a stellar preseason.

    My gripe is charging STH the same amount for these games as the regular season games. Thats the real problem.

    NFL schedule should stay 16 games. I vote to keep the preseason – wouldn’t be opposed to cutting it back to 3 games and having more joint practices with other clubs.

  18. Stupid idea. The schedule is nearly perfect now with the rotations and bye weeks. Just cut 2 preseason games, like the FANS (season ticket holders) want.

  19. It’s a dumb idea. The same people that want to cut out preseason games because they are boring due to starters not playing are ok with two regular season games that will feature backups in some capacity? What if you traveled from far away to see your favorite player and that just happens to be his designated day off? It doesn’t make any sense. The Canadian league plays an 18 game season so it’s not something that is unprecedented. Personally I’d prefer to see things stay the way they are. It seems like we are always trying to fix something that isn’t broken.

  20. Stick to 16 regular season games, 2 or 3 preseason games and stop being so selfish NFL owners.
    1 less game will not make or break you.

  21. When will the starting QBs rest? Weeks 1 and 2. So they’re essentially preseason games anyways, with the coaches just hoping for 1 victory between the two. Then we put in Brady, Wilson, etc for games 3-18.

    OMG can you imagine Seattle without Russell Wilson? Lol.

  22. So instead of two unwatchable preseason games we’ll get two unwatchable REGULAR SEASON games THAT COUNT?

  23. How do you kill the Golden Goose? Hire Roger Goodell. The product was perfect when he got it. Now, it’s bordering on unwatchable. No more games, no more rules, no more players on the roster. Just go back to common sense, which Goodell doesn’t seem to have much of.

  24. Like most everyone else, I really hate the idea of an 18 game season. But, realistically, it’s going to happen eventually if the owners want it. You can huff and puff an internet comment boards all you like, but you have to prepare yourself that it’s going to happen.

  25. How about we split the difference: add an additional playoff round. Eliminate 2 pre-season games and expand the rosters.

    What the NFL doesn’t understand is that the games are so compelling *because* there are so few. Keep adding more and you dilute everything, and you end up with basketball and baseball and soccer…so many games that they individually don’t matter. Eff that.

  26. For this to work two things would have to happen:

    1. Larger Rosters

    NFL rosters as they are now are too small considering how many players get injured each season. Nothing like seeing your favorite team make the Super Bowl and knowing they’ll be starting their fourth string emergency center.

    2. The 50/50 Revenue Split will have to go to 55/45 In Favor of the Players

    There’s no way that today’s player will agree to expanded rosters unless revenue sharing changes. If each team gets to add ten more players that means wages will go down. Why would anyone agree to that? So in order to possibly make more money, the owners will have to agree to give up a chunk of their revenue percentage.

  27. Will season ticket holders have the option of choosing which 2 watered-down games they don’t want to have to attend and pay for?

  28. Like most new ideas, people will come up with all the reasons it WON’T work before even considering how it might actually come about. Certainly the strategy element would be increased. You may be playing one teams best O-line, but want to rest your starters for a divisional rival the next week. It would require teams to get better at developing players, coaching better and teaching better. Players would have to learn how to play safer and tackle correctly. Rosters would expand. Teams would have to mix and match their first and second stringers in order to keep as good a team as possible on the field.
    Other problems are there, too, like what happens if a starter gets hurt early in a game, say the first series, and can’t play for the rest of the game. Does that count as a game played? Can you do it on an accrued snap count basis; you only get so many plays each season?
    None of these issues are insurmountable, but they are different. It’s an interesting thought experiment if nothing else.

  29. AWFUL IDEA!! Fans & players alike would be opposed to it for health and quality (or lack thereof) reasons. If they insist on expanding the regular season I could conceivably see this working: 17 game season, cut preseason down to 2 or 3 games and give an extra bye week.

  30. roster size and salary cap will need to be increased. What I don’t like in the quality of the game will be compromised all just to increase revenue.

  31. 18 games not gonna happen. Equating 2 preseason games with 2 regular season games is ridiculous. Starters and veterans play only a few series in all 4 preseason games while they play 80% or more on defense, offense or special teams during a regular season game. The wear and tear of an 18 game regular season is too much to ask.

    Cutting preseason games is fine but is not going to happen as the NFL is unwilling to give up the extra income.

  32. “The concept entails staging 18 regular season games per team but allowing players to participate in no more than 16 each.”

    This is an absolutely horrible idea. When do you not play Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or any of the other most important players on your team?

    Few teams have a backup QB that is going to fill in properly for the starter. Essentially you want at least one of your starters to sit every single game, and 2 for at least 6 of them.

    The league has the perfect symmetrical formula right now. Adding games will destroy that, especially if you can’t play your best players eery game.

    Taking away from the preseason prevents coaches from properly evaluating the bottom half or third of their roster. Doing so would also severely limit rookies and new players from learning the system. Worst of all, if you have a new head coach and coaching staff with only 2 games to install their systems and teach them to the entire team they are totally screwed. No team with a new head coach will ever thrive in the first season that coach is given the job.

    Its like the people at 345 Corrupt Ave go into their morning meeting every day and the first thing they ask is “How can we make the game worse and drive fans away”


  33. Let’s do 16 pre-season games followed by pre-season playoffs & a pre-season Super Bowl. This way Cleveland can win it all!

  34. If you’re going to add more games, I want to see more playoff games. Each conference gets two more playoff seeds. And, sack one preseason game, while you’re at it…!

  35. It doesn’t take much contemplation to realize how badly this would skew competition.

    Teams would more heavily rest their best players against teams perceived to be top-tier. So every team playing the Patriots, for example, would be playing more of their backups, saving their best guys for more winnable contests. Resulting in top teams having a built-in advantage every year.

  36. Hockey isn’t even remotely as violent as football. You can zip around for a shift without even having contact. Playing hoops or soccer are more like hockey, just less violent. You run and then run some more. They use all the players because they never stop.

    What if they had a 5 minute timeout every 10 minutes in hockey? Then you’d see the best of the best for most of the game.

    Apples to Oranges.

  37. Find individuals who are willing to play 18 games and hire them.. Those who don’t want to wouldn’t have to apply for a job. They can find employment elsewhere like the rest of us.

  38. johnodocks says:
    August 28, 2018 at 1:43 pm
    Will season ticket holders have the option of choosing which 2 watered-down games they don’t want to have to attend and pay for?

    They don’t give us the option of not paying for meaningless pre-season games, so why would they?

    Those claiming an 18 game season is “greed” obviously don’t understand that NFL teams charge full price for the pre-season games. It’s absolutely criminal. $100 down the drain this week, as I’ll be skipping the Houston Texans Practice squad and cuts versus the Dallas Cowboys practice squad and cuts.

  39. If the idea is this gimmicky, it isn’t worth it. Who the heck wants the teams to be rostered weaker than it could be? Fantasy football players already hate having to automatically lose each member of their teams once a year, so how do you think real-team fans will take to seeing guys randomly not play?

  40. Boo do not like this idea. So if in a battle for the Top seed it might come down to backups?
    not a good idea either way IMHO. teams already battle to see who can stay healthiest.
    That is with only 16 regular season games. Fans already hate seeing backup players as it is already SMH.

  41. So as fans we’re expected to get 89% (16/18) of the current potential quality of the product.

    These should be, at a minimum, some of the trade-offs:

    1. Ticket prices are 89% of their current price.

    2. Concessions and parking are 89% of their current price.

    3. They get rid of most Thursday night games (aren’t they already bad enough?)

    4. Joe Buck has to sit for 2 weeks too.

  42. I’ve never heard a worse idea in my life. Imagine you miss the playoffs by 1 game and you lost both games your starting QB had to sit out.

  43. This is a very good idea, but also why do people think that all players would be given the day off the same week(s). Coaches would have to manage when they give players a day off and they all wouldnt be the same week. In fact with injuries most players would be given games off to heal. A few players per week per team would be off. The rule would be max 16 games. If a player is out a couple of games for any reason it shouldnt be counted against the 16.

    Preseason needs to go. It is just a waste.

  44. this is a terrible idea and i have never heard one fan say they are in favor of 18 games. it is simply greed of the owners. i am actually convinced the owners aren’t even fans of football more than they are fans of money.


    easy solution to their greed and player safety… make the season 19 weeks (2 more than current), keep 16 games and just give each team 2 extra bye weeks. you get to televise 2 additional weeks of football and have that revenue come in. you can have a parade in the owners honor saying how much they value safety and pushed for extra by weeks. fans are happy that we are still at 16 weeks and record books, dilution and so on are held up.

    they need to also schedule those bye weeks around thursday games since those are 1) awful quality and 2) dangerous.

  45. This is a faulty idea from the get-go, and doesn’t resolve the underlying issue. No fan is going to want to pay for or buy tickets for games where the best players are no playing.

    We see this play out at the end of every regular season when teams that have either locked up their playoff seeding, or stand no chance of improving their standing will rest their starters for the post-season. What this approach would do is make that a status-quo practice for all 32 teams, and rob fans of the opportunity to see their team put its best players on the field at every position. We can debate whether or not this is a good idea, but one thing is for sure; this is never going to happen.

  46. “Will season ticket owners have the option of choosing which 2 watered-down games they don’t want to have to attend and pay for?”

    The comments about ticket prices, especially about paying for season tickets, are simply hilarious. It is a certainty that the above commenter is not a season ticket owner. Likewise, 99% of the people whining about ticket prices have never purchased a ticket.

    If you’re not buying tickets, don’t complain about the prices. If you have purchased a ticket, you knew exactly what you had to pay. Don’t whine about it later.

  47. Who thought of that Mickey Mouse idea? Have a 16 game season with the regular team then 2 games with replacement players. Then when the regular players go on strike, the replacement players can play a 18 game season.

  48. Absolutley ridiculous. Every year without fail some uncreative journalist rolls out the tired, boring story about having less pre-season games. Why? Must it happen every year? No one cares about 16/18 games except greedy owners (as if getting injurered in a regular season gamew is somehow more valiant than getting injured in a pre-season game. Unfortunately injuries are going to hapen).

  49. Why stop at 18/16.

    How about 40 games, 10 max.

    Get a bill passed in congress where some percentage of income is withheld to fund the expanded rosters required.

  50. Stop changing the game to meet shadow requirements.

    What is the requirement here? Owners want to make (yet) more money.

    What is the obstacle here? (False) concerns about player safety.

    We all know the 18 game season is coming. Quit beating around the bush and just do it without creating a crappier version of the product. We don’t want to see 2 games a year without our starting QB’s because they’re only allowed to play in 16 games. This isn’t an elimination league. Cut the BS and just be real.

    The closest change to justify this money grab is to reduce the preseason.

  51. 18 games would be great
    how about adding another week off during the season and increasing the number of players above the 53 allowed
    Thursday games should only follow a bye week by both teams
    Viola – more games and more emphasis on player safety

  52. So, the backup QB and the practice squad players would be the only players who could play in game 17 and 18. Teams play almost all their 46 active players either on offense, defense or special teams.

  53. No need for more than 16 games. No need for 4 pre-season games either. Cut it to two & let teams young players scrimmage against other teams for two weeks. Oh wait … there’s no money to be made there. Never mind.

  54. Sigh. If Jerrah wants it, it’s probably going to happen unfortunately. I would imagine the league will cut some sort of deal with the NFLPA to sweeten the deal like a 40% jump in the salary cap and the rank and file will eat it up. So much for the lip service to player safety. Now that I think about it, this 18 game thing was probably the whole motive behind all the new rules in the first place. Sad if true that the real motive truly wasn’t player safety but owner greed.

  55. On first thought, it’s a terrible idea. But then when you give it some more thought, it kind of has some appeal to it. But then if you take the time to give it a third thought, you’ll realize that it’s the worst idea anyone ever came up with.

  56. Just add another bye week so there are 18 weeks of NFL games rather than 17. The networks pay more for another week of games and the players get more rest during the season. It makes so much sense it will never happen.

  57. Let’s make a deal. The owners get the 18 game season if they give up Thursday night football and the London games. That’s not going to happen, so no deal on the 18 game season. The players need to win a few, here.

  58. Backups are people too.

    Backups get injured in preseason games just as often as starters get injured in regular season games.

    The total number of injuries would not change.

    Why are you only an advocate for starters, Florio?

  59. Sounds like a great idea. More games for fans and the sanctity of individual records are pretty much maintained.

  60. LMAO!!

    When Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady get hurt because it was their left tackle turn to take a game off, remind me again how this is good for “player safety”.

  61. To me on first thought, second thought and a hundred more thoughts this is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.

  62. The easiest solution would be to add another bye week for every team and stretch the length of the season to 18 weeks, but without adding a game.

    Increased player safety achieved through additional rest time provided by the additional bye.

    The NFL gets another week of TV dollars (which is all they really want).

    Problem Solved.

  63. Have heard this a couple years and like it. That way players are still playing, if uninjured, 16 games but a virtual 2 byes each. Requires managing which games the best players sit such as Tom Brady against whomever but also requires stronger backups. I wish this one would get more legs.

  64. You’d almost have to also have a rule that 6 players have to sit out each game who haven’t sat out 2 already. If it’s not staggered like that, every team would wait to the final 2 weeks to sit starters, and you’d end the season with preseason-quality football with only benchwarmers on the field.

  65. Terrible idea, but still better than the Ravens proposal that a kick-off through the uprights is worth 1 point.

  66. The best solution is to eliminate two preseason games and keep 16 regular season games. Stop gouging season ticket holders into paying full price for these lousy games. Be creative in making up the lost revenue; tv contracts, streaming games, cheaper concessions (which might actually have fans spend more), same with merchandise, etc. Of course greed will never take a back seat with pro sports today but I feel better at least typing it 🤨

  67. Nobody asked them to change anything. Seriously. Baseball needs 100 tweaks, hockey might need to stop fighting, football needs to stop doing crap just because it sounds interesting. These old fart owners are trying to do a bunch a stuff before they keel over.

  68. get rid of the regular season
    and switch to a bracketed double-elimination round robin tournament with re buy

  69. Just awful.

    How about this. I know it’s crazy, but hear me out. What if *looks left, looks right* we just leave the game of football alone?

  70. What is the point of all this? They can use all the jackass justifications and rotations they want – they are just trying to come up with any way possible to get more $$$. Pure greed.

  71. I say it would be best to leave the season as it is but make the preseason games meaningful. Make them count towards playoff implications so that teams actually try and win them to some extent.

  72. Brilliant idea. Love it. Yes, there are lots of negative/ naysayers above. Ignore them. Brilliant idea. No getting to the playoffs will not come down to backups as long as you give your starters breaks early in the season. This adds an element of chess that is brilliant. Backup QB’s have to work for a living 2x a year. Teams like Cleveland/ Buffalo get a sudden advantage because presumably people would try and steal those games with backups. Love it. Yes, it will be a problem for teams with lesser coaches– get a smarter coach that can exploit this.

  73. I like this idea. I don’t know if it would ever happen because it would be a hard sell for fans to buy tickets to a game without knowing whether your favorite player will be playing. I don’t live in an NFL city but am willing to drive a few hours to see a game once a year. As a Packer fan, if I wasn’t guaranteed that Rodgers would be playing I would be much less likely to plan a trip around that. I agree that it would add a lot of interesting strategy to each week.

  74. Horrible idea. So instead of 4 subpar games in the preseason fans can avoid now were going to have 18 subpar games that count? Public relations wise the NFL would have the same problem the NBA had with marquee players sitting out games.

  75. I like it, could I go to 18 games and only pay for 16, since I’m not seeing the best players for all 16 games?

  76. Well if it is left ot the fans I vote for (2) preseason games, (16) regular season games, one extra bye week (which Cleveland fans really like, because we never lose in a bye-week) with the added benefit fewer games in December (and regular games in August/September).

  77. It may take a little creativity, but I think the idea is workable. How many players play all 16 games anyway? It seems like almost everyone is injured at some point during the season and misses a couple of games. This way they could miss two games and still play in 16….and the records wouldn’t have to be marked with an asterisk because players have more games to set records.

  78. This is problematic for a number of reasons. It would reward gambling and crime by forcing every coach to half way throw 2 games, but not forcing which 2 they throw, and leaving it up to their inexplicable whims. ‘Pete Rose’ could bet on his team when expected to rest stars, rest them a week earlier by surprise, but it would not look that suspicious, because anything could be a strategy. It would also create competitive unfairness, because one team might happen to 10 teams decide to rest a lot of their stars against them, and another might have none, just due to schedule timing. All this can happen already but forced resting greatly amplifies it. It would also encourage dangerous hits, because a team that gets a rep for injuring opponents might occasionally see opponents rest more stars against them on week 17 or coming off an injury now, but with 2 weeks of forced resting, there would be a much bigger advantage to having a Burfict or something that encourages lots of teams to rest stars against you. And then, you create a lot of uncertainty for fans. They can never plan to attend a certain game and see their favorite stars because it is not just injury and week 17 rest they must worry about, but now it is guaranteed that every star on both sides misses 2 games. If they had to do something like this, it would be better to randomly assign each players bye weeks at the start of the season and take the gambling, intimidation, unfairness, uncertainty, etc out of it. But then you might have Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady sitting out of Monday Night Football. Oh, and teams might rest star players more for prime time games because of the concern of shorter rest, which would affect ratings.

  79. No. For so many reasons no.

    Get rid of one preseason game. We all know the 4th game is worthless.

    Go to 18 weeks, but keep 16 games. Every team gets 2 bye weeks, one of which is used for TNF. That means longer tv season (and better contract), better quality play on TNF (which is a real problem), less games missed due to injury, fresher players come crunch time.

    You don’t mess with week to week rosters, cause chaos in FF (which is a consideration given how much money the league makes on it), piss off fans who paid to see their favorite player sit, and mess with the integrity of longstanding records.

  80. Given their lesser importance than division or conference games (both in terms of not caring about the other team’s place in the standings, and in terms of tiebreakers), interconference games would become a dumping ground for sitting important players.

    what would probably happen is this (an illustration, based on the 2018 season, but just replace the teams and the week and it could be any team) – prior to their week 4 matchup, Eagles Coach Doug Pederson calls up Titans Coach Mike Vrabel:

    “Hey Mike, how would you feel about both of us resting our starters this game. This game means less to us than our NFC games, less to you than your AFC games, and if we both rest our starters it should still be a good matchup and one of us will have to win it, and if either of us rests our starters when the other team isn’t, then it’s practically a guarantee of a loss.”

    The fans that week don’t get to see any of the star players for either team.

  81. A couple of tweaks and it could work. Such as, 5 players can be designated 18 gamers, that way your LT is always available if you don’t have a decent backup, QB, Kicker , Punter< etc. The players that aren't playing must be designated in advance, that way people know who's playing when they buy a ticket. 2 more bye weeks. That gives the fans an extra month of football. No pre-season, but 4 controlled scrimmages with rotating scheduled teams. Shorter off season for the fans. Expanded rosters so teams don't have to cut "that guy" you really like and thinks has potential. bigger practice squad. larger cut for the players to compensate for added players. Just my thoughts.

  82. Great concept, except for the fact that most Americans don’t want strategy, they want to kick back, pop open a beer, check their fantasy football line up and mindlessly watch football on a Sunday afternoon with their buddies/families. While this sounds fun, it also seems exhausting. Having to keep track of who’s playing and who isn’t on your favorite teams…and giving analysts a thousand more reasons to question a coach’s judgments just seems like it’ll backfire with tremendous backlash fairly quickly. Love the concept but in execution it would frustrate fans and disengage a lot of them quickly, not grow the fan base.

  83. I really don’t understand why it’s hard to reconcile player safety and 18 games. If the game is safer, you can play more games. For example, the MLB and NBA are safer than the NFL and they play more than a 100 games. All 32 NFL teams start the season with one goal in mind – to play 18 games in the season and hoist the trophy in the air. If 18 games is unsafe, why would they want that?

  84. I’ve mentioned this 18/16 thing before whenever the 18 game season is discussed but I dont think QBs should be exempt.

    It would certainly reward people who build a team with depth. Especially true if you build a team with a starter worthy backup QB. I think those fringe players would love it because they’re guaranteed, even if the starting QB doesn’t get hurt, playing 2 games. Rookie/young QBs would love it since even if you have a Hue Jackson like want to keep Baker Mayfield out all year he would get a minimum of 2 games to experience.

  85. rosters would have to be bigger than 53, and dont let QBs or kicker/punters be exempt for or else long standing records by much better players will get destroyed.

  86. Great idea. Expand the rosters and delete two of the games during the preseason in which to evaluate them.

  87. Add the extra week. But add a second bye too. At the same time have use the extra byes to arrange for teams to always have ond the week before a thursday game.

  88. Just drop the fourth preseason game. Keep season ticket prices the same. Absorb the remaining lost revenue but know you are producing a better experience for your fans and lessening over saturation. Short term pain but healthier industry.

  89. If the NFL tried thus it would be another part of their ongoing experiment to see how many real fans they can drive away as if the Aaron Rodgers and helmet rules weren’t enough.

  90. stupid idea…if you want a 18 game schedule go to 2 byes per team….raise roster to 60 players….Super Bowl will be end of February…not a big deal…nothing going on till March Madness anyway.

  91. Play every 9 or 10 days. No more inter-league play. AFC only plays opponents from the AFC and vice versa for the NFC. Super Bowl winner decides what league starts the season off. Example: the Eagles won the Super Bowl and that mean the NFC starts week 1 off with their games on Sunday. Sunday Night football would remain but with a flex schedule to put the best games on. Monday Night Football would have 2 games. An early game and a later game.(New TV deal bringing in more money for the league by adding an extra game that night.) Okay, here is where it gets crazy but bear with me. 2 days later, the AFC will play it’s games on the Wednesday, with a Wednesday Night Game and 2 Thursday Night games. Now each conference gets 9 to 10 days off. This gives a great amount of time for players to recuperate. The AFC would now play their next games on the Sunday/Monday and the NFC would now play their next games on the Wednesday/Thursday. This again would lead to a new TV deal for the NFL because of the Wednesday game lineup and would save Thursday Night Football. A new TV deal means more money for the league and for the players. Since the season would be 2 more games, the NFL would have to play the players additional money for those games. Solution is to take the contract and divide by 16 and get a per game average. That average would be paid to the player for each game. With an 18 game schedule the roster would have to go up from the 53 man roster. Again, more money for the players. As well as more practice squad players. Since this type of scheduling would make the season longer it gives injured players a greater chance to return from injuries. Change the rule that more than 1 person can return from the IR. I could go on and on but my idea would do both. Give the owners the 18 games that they want and give the players more time off. The old school fans might not like the idea of Wednesday games but I would argue, what’s the difference. Baseball plays all the time, as does the NBA and the equally physical NHL. As for me, more football is a great thing.

  92. rukiddnme29 says:
    August 28, 2018 at 1:07 pm
    Zero fans want 18 games. It’s just greed.

    Then why do people watch, and pay for preseason games? SMH.

    Listen I don’t like preseason, but you’re commentary of saying “zero fans” is supported less than people who say the NFL is suddenly in danger because 2 people kneel during something no one watches anyway.

  93. Less talent on the field will never make it a better game. Why not go 20 games? 22? Limit them to 16 each. So much more money FOR EVERYONE (except the fans). I wouldn’t watch. Every genius out there thinking outside the box keeps pushing for changes. Leave it alone. If it’s not broken, don’t break it (& the rules changes are already about to break it more than “they” realize). Does over saturation not seem like a real thing? It is.

  94. I have a better solution. Give each team 2 bye weeks per season. The league can then stretch the season to 18 weeks, without forcing teams to rest players for regular season games or forcing players to play 18 regular season games.

  95. Prefer 19 games…….

    -Prefer 19 game reg.season
    -played over 22 weeks with 3 byes
    -2 x preseason scrimmages at the end of camp
    -maximum voluntary 16 games for vets
    -90 man roster retained with a 11 game ‘NFL Spring League’ played February-July 4th for more practice opportunities.


  96. 3 pre-season, 17 Regular season games and 16 team playoff but have seeds 5-8 play each other in the first round with 1-4 getting byes and then reseed for the second round. You could also enforce the 16 games per player rule because through the course of the season players often get at least a minor injury that sidelines them. And if they don’t, they can take week 18 off since those games rarely matter anyway.

  97. Yeah, that would be okay. They’d have to increase roster size substantially, which they should do anyway, but it would be ok. They could also do some more with IR, letting an unlimited number of players come back from IR would improve the quality of play.

  98. Make the pre-season two games, keep 16 reg season, and add one wc team in each conference. Less is more for reg season. No need to expose the players to more injuries.

  99. The NFLPA would never approve, unless there were transparent bookeeping and legitimate profit sharing.

    As certain outspoken NFL players have said… Jerry Jones just wants to squeeze more out of his plantation workers.

    The NFL becomes more profitable from quality, not quantity. Change the last three games of the season into division flex games that are quasi playoffs, so the top two teams in a division always play the last week of the regular season.

  100. It would be interesting if suspensions and injuries would count against the total. Dallas would have had Zeke for all but 3 playable games last year. If a player gets injured early, use up his two game sit allotment while he recovers. Depth would be more important, certainly a capable 2nd QB and a 3rd tackle… Salaries would be spread more evenly as backups would have more importance and value. Teams might try to be like Baltimore where Lamar Jackson will play a few plays in 16 games and two full games. Playoff bound teams rest their starters for the last game anyway… Baseball teams are always figuring out their starting pitcher rotation. Their best player plays only once every 5 days… Lots to think about.

  101. This is the most ridiculous idea I have heard on this issue. When I read 18-16 solution I thought that the real obvious solution would have been proposed.
    Increase the regular season duration to 18 weeks from 17 weeks, by adding an extra by week. Since every team has a mandatory Thursday game, align one of the byes with that game. This would aid player recover/safety, add a week of TV revenue, and increase the value of the Thursday product.

  102. I just admire the stones of BILLIONAIRES constantly trying to sell fans (who have already rejected the idea several times) on ideas that help THEM make more money, and said fans watch worse football…

  103. This would water down the regular season and decrease the quality of football. From a financial viewpoint, I understand why owners would want 18. However, players can barely get through 16 games as it is and fans prefer quality over quantity.

  104. I was really hoping this article was going to be for an 18 week season with 16 games giving each team 2 bye weeks.

    It would add an extra weekend of games for the TV contracts and give players and extra week to recover. Win-win.

  105. I’m already watching a lot less football than I used to thanks to the Goodell Era. If football ever moves beyond the 16 game regular season, I’m out.

  106. Hey NFL-are you reading these comments? Are you noticing which direction the thumbs are pointed?
    These are fans of football telling you to stop. How about leave us wanting more? Not less. Are you listening?

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