NFLPA is still opposed to 18-game season

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At a time when the NFL power structure has been wisely coy (if not outright silent) regarding its simmering desire to expand the regular season from 16 games to 18, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has jerked the cat out of the bag (probably not a commonly used expression in the oil and gas exploration business) by broaching the subject publicly.

The NFL Players Association continues to not be interested, despite Jones’ belief that players would make another $1 billion per year.

“I don’t think our position’s changed,” NFLPA president Eric Winston told the Dan Patrick Show, via SportsBusiness Daily. “[Players] don’t see the positive tradeoff, the guys don’t see it as something that is good for their careers, good for their bodies.”

And, as Winston explained, the extra money wouldn’t be divvied up equally.

“[The] cap is going to get tilted heavily to the star players.” Winston said. “The people that I’ve talked to on how that money could be spread, wouldn’t go to your role players, your middle-of-the-road guys.”

As to the notion that swapping two preseason games for two regular-season games would in some way make the game safer, Winston scoffed.

“Let’s look at it from a common sense standpoint,” Winston said. “Does anybody think playing two more games is safer for players?”

He’s right. But remember this: Winston previously hasn’t ruled out the possibility of expanding the regular season by one game only. Though he has said that a move from 16 to 18 is “dead in the water,” Winston said in 2015 regarding a possible move to 17, “I never say never about anything.”

Winston apparently hasn’t addressed the possibility of moving from 16 to 18 with a per-player limit of 16 games each. That continues to be a viable alternative, especially if the union is OK with it.

38 responses to “NFLPA is still opposed to 18-game season

  1. The pre-season should be just 2 games and played by only rookies and bubble players. These days it’s just too risky to play starters. An 18-game season just makes sense for everyone. If the players insist on a 16-game season than just play bubble players and rookies and undrafted free agents. Once the regular season starts everyone will get going fast enough. The pre-season doesn’t help the players get ready for the season anyway, especially now that the 3rd game has lost its place as a dress rehearsal.

  2. So add a game, AND add a bye. Use the extra byes so that teams are always off the week before a thursday game. Less injury risk and more money being made, everyone gains in this scenario. The roadblock to that is each side doesnt like the idea of the other side getting anything out of the exchange because they see that as some sort of loss. Yesthe mutual desire to dominate any negotiation giving no quarter is that strong.

  3. I could see an 18 game schedule of they dropped two pre season games? All the sports want to compete with each other for the almighty dollar and have vastly extended their seasons over the years.
    Nascar takes a month off to fuel the cars and let the drivers breed.
    Baseball is played in the snow now and I wish I was joking. It was 32 degrees at Minny’s opening and yes snow.
    Golfers are afraid to take more than a week off or their swing goes to hell.
    and we all love hockey in July.

  4. Add another bye week, stick with 16 game season. They could even make bye week placement an incentive based on record, or have a floating bye for playoff teams to choose from before schedules are done.

    NFL gains another week of TV money. Players get more rest without additional sacrifice.

    Problem solved.

  5. Winston apparently hasn’t addressed the possibility of moving from 16 to 18 with a per-player limit of 16 games each. That continues to be a viable alternative, especially if the union is OK with it.

    As a fan I would be fine with 17 games if both sides agree on that, but I am definitely against limiting players to 16 games. If they want 18 games then have two bye weeks with no game limit.

  6. Listen would I like more football? Yes. Less exhibition? Yes. 18 with 16 max for players sounds good, until you consider that you don’t get game checks if you don’t play, and if you play non-starters for 2 games to satisfy the rule the quality of the game (continues to) degrade. Could you strategize it? Probably. Figure out what game you “need” players in for or not. Sure. But that doesn’t make the product more watchable.

    With you in spirit, just not in practice.

  7. There will never be less than 20 games total. As a season ticket holder i am charged the same for the preseason as the regular season. The owners will never go for less games played.

  8. 17 Games, and add an additional bye week. THAT is the silver bullet.

    Only 2 preseason games.

    having 2 bye weeks gives you the ability to give players extra rest before TNF and after MNF. Also after coast to coast travel if necessary or ideal.

    you only have the players play 1 more game of snaps, but you get TWO more weeks of TV ratings.

    And you do something with the cap so the new money doesn’t got to star players. Increase the rookie mins and the veteran minimums. Easy Peasy.

  9. With 17 games another SLIGHT appeal is no more .500 season, unless you get a tie. Most teams will come out of every season as a winner or a loser. I like that.

  10. “Let’s look at it from a common sense standpoint,”…Let’s Do !…How much longer are fans going to support ad or watch these meaningless pre season games AND be bilked by the powers that be ?
    Not Me…I have not watched or attended even one pre season game.

  11. I thought the idea floated yesterday of an 18 game schedule but players could only participate in 16 games was ridiculous. The last thing I want to see is a Vikings/Packers game with one, possibly two backup quarterbacks. Since the game would be meaningful that would not happen, but what one might expect would for for Cleveland Browns fans (and other rebuilding teams) to see 16 opposing backup quarterbacks a season.

  12. You would reduce injuries to the guys playing in the 2 preseason games that are discarded. Are those injuries irrelevant? Doesn’t the NFLPA represent all players? Or just the starters?

  13. Shouldn’t they be more opposed to the two year franchise tag the owners rammed down their throats because of their ineptitude in negotiations. This effects players in the league Now.

  14. Why are we acting like we wouldn’t eat up another 2 games? Fans would watch. Fans would be waiting all summer for those games. We would have all the fantasy football activity, all the talking heads yapping about the games, and all the fans tweeting and attending them. Don’t act like you wouldn’t watch or enjoy it if you know you would.

  15. The big problem is that you cant just add one more game. It would cause a major imbalance with the home vs. away games. The league would have to have each team play 18 games, so each team would evenly get their home games. If they want a 2nd bye week, then you’re having to add an additional week onto the season.

  16. “[The] cap is going to get tilted heavily to the star players.” Winston said. “The people that I’ve talked to on how that money could be spread, wouldn’t go to your role players, your middle-of-the-road guys.”


    The NFLPA could certainly help redistribute the funds to a certain degree. A higher minimum salary league wide would no question take money from star players and give it to the bottom of the roster.

    There are additional ways to cap it at the top and force money back down the line. The problem is that every player thinks one day they will be the next super star getting record riches and screw themselves out of money.

  17. Eric Winston, YES it is “safer” to pla an 18-game schedule – there has never been correlation between length of the season and incidence of injury, and today’s players are safer, better prepared, and know more how to avoid injuries than before. There is NO credible reason not to have an 18-game schedule.

  18. Soccer players play like 11 months year round. You don’t think the game is hard on them? All this crying about how NFL players don’t want to play 18 games because it’s too hard on their bodies is ridiculous.

  19. Adding an extra bye is a great idea. No one will notice a few teams not playing in any given week. 18 games and extra bye and 2 pre-season games played by rookies and undrafted free agents. No injuries to the starters, that makes perfect sense…As a Viking fan I remember loosing Chad Greenway for his entire first year in a dang pre-season game, stupid…

  20. Michael Daly says:
    August 29, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    “there has never been correlation between length of the season and incidence of injury”

    Every athlete in football is a play away from a career ending injury. eg Shazier (may he recovery fully) 2 extra games has that many extra snaps = more likelyhood of injury.
    I don’t understand how you couldn’t figure that out. Rate is static, snapcount is the variable.

  21. 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. Enhance the playoffs…
    [a] 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.
    [b] Have 8 teams per conference in playoff round 1; then seed rounds 2 and 3 by LEAGUE standing.
    [c] The Super Bowl is no longer an AFC v. NFC yawnfest contest, but between the 2 best teams in the league.

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