The NFL wants to expand the regular season from 16 games to 18. The NFL Players Association doesn’t.
Curiously, Giants co-owner John Mara recently made the point on behalf of the players, via Steve Serby of the New York Post, by way of Peter King of Football Morning in America.
“We were negotiating the CBA in 2011,” Mara told Serby. “Jerry Jones was in one of our meetings. We were on a break and we were about to go in and talk to the players about the schedule. He said, ‘I want to try to sell them on the 18-game regular season.’ And my response was, ‘Jerry, they’re adamantly opposed to that. You have no chance.’ He says, ‘I’ll bet I can sell ’em on it.’ I said, ‘You sell them on the 18-game season, I will walk around Times Square for the week in a Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt.’ He said, ‘You’re on.’ We walked into the meeting room, and he barely got the words out of his mouth, and the players said: ‘No way. That’s a deal breaker. We’ll walk out of here right now.’ So I did not have to walk around Times Square wearing a Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt.”
That’s fine, but the NFL still wants 18 games, especially with legalized gambling on the way. Jones recently said so himself, and the undercurrent for more games that count among others in the league continues.
So why would Mara talk so openly about the players not wanting 18 games? Unless he’s one of the few who doesn’t want 18, there’s no reason to speak publicly against something that others clearly covet.
And they definitely do. No matter what Mara says, the league wants 18 games. Maybe the players still don’t, but the owners still do.