Report: NFL could push for 18-game schedule in labor talks

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The NFL could seek an 18-game regular season or an expanded playoff field in a new labor deal, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports. In return, Maske says, many owners are willing to offer players concessions to the commissioner’s disciplinary authority and to the marijuana policy.

Maske quoted a high-ranking official with one NFL team saying “some owners . . . would like to expand the season” to 18 games but added it’s not clear “if there is much support from the players on that.”

Players have adamantly opposed an expanded schedule, and Giants co-owner John Mara reiterated the NFLPA’s strong stance on that issue as recently as September. Packers CEO Mark Murphy repeatedly has stated his concerns about the impact of more games on the health and safety of players.

The league, though, wants 18 games, especially with legalized gambling on the way, and it now has something to give up in order to create even more revenue.

The NFL and NFLPA announced last week a joint committee will study the use of marijuana by players as a pain-management tool.

The current collective bargaining agreement expires following the 2020 season, and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith recently sent an email to all agents warning them to prepare for a full-season work stoppage in 2021.

Both sides, though, appear hopeful that a better working relationship than in 2011 could lead to a labor deal before it comes to that.

“I do hope it’s sooner rather than later,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at last week’s owners’ meeting, via Maske. “I think there’s great value to all parties, and most importantly our fans, that we get this issue resolved and move forward. But there are important issues to be addressed, and we’re doing that.”

105 responses to “Report: NFL could push for 18-game schedule in labor talks

  1. “The league, though, wants 18 games, especially with legalized gambling on the way”

    Money will eventually ruin everything in life.

  2. ESPN 30 for 30 voice

    What if I told you the NFL had the perfect formula but ruined it by being greedy

  3. Should be a 17 game schedule. 8 home 8 away and 1 neutral field for each team. No one misses a home game for all the NFL jaunts to London, Mexico, etc and they can host games in Canada, Hawaii, Germany, Canton, etc. But I guess that will make too much sense for the NFL powers.

  4. If it means more money in the players pockets I could see it happening. I think if they do this 2 preseason games need to go however. I’m fine however with the 16 as it stands now.

  5. I see this being a problem down the road. It will happen but they will wish they hadn’t. You will get more injuries and have half your stars out for the playoffs.

  6. Doesn’t matter to me, I don’t watch games until November because that when the real season starts.

  7. It’s a red herring negotiating tactic by the owners. What they really want to do is undercut the players’ union demand for a larger percentage cut of league revenues. So what they’ll do is counter with something insane, like an 18 game schedule, and pretend to pull back to a 16 game schedule as a concession, in order to counter any player pay increase demands.

  8. How about instead of 18 games they bring back the practice time they cut in the last CBA, so that players actually develop and we see improved play on the field during the 16 games we have now?

  9. 18 games, eliminate 2 preseason farces er, I mean, games, expand rosters, share the gambling revenue, sweeten the deal a little, get er done.

    Problem is, I don’t believe DeMaurice Smith and his crew will be satisfied with anything less than a strike. Not sure he can get the rank and file to agree, but I think that’s what he wants.

  10. I believe they can do an 18 game season with 2 preseason games. Increase to 60 man roster. However, each player can only play in 16 games and they have to be inactive for at least 2. Has a some strategy to it and I think it would be interesting.

  11. So tired of this. Owners will get what they want, at the expense of the quality and integrity of the game. It’s a false leverage tactic… they know they’ll cripple their business by going to 18… I’m gonna assume it’s a ruse to obtain something else other than an 18-game schedule.

  12. If you want to play 18 games, then you’ll have to expand the roster to 65. And then, with added, compounded risk of injury, QB2 becomes the 2nd most important position on the team.

  13. A positive would be that this would delay the super bowl a couple weeks. This would give us the following Monday off for President’s Day. Monday after the super bowl is always a rough wake up.

  14. Great.. 2 more games for Vikings fans to lament over yet another lost season. What will this year be, 70 yrs in a row

  15. irony much huh as players take dope to manage the pain so the league says hey lets add to more games n the union goes for the personal conduct stuff …. suspensions fer toking will surely be coming n they won’t be jokin huh …. :S gotta be roster expansion and take off a preseason game to make it all work

  16. 18 games,one less preseason game. Give them their weed and make all 53 players active on game day. Done! That wasn’t so hard.

  17. I think majority of the players would rather take a pay increase for 2 additional games rather than make marijuana legal for players. I’m sure a lot of players do use it. Just a small percentage of dumb players get caught so why give up something just so stupid people can continue being stupid.

  18. I’ve said before, a better way is have an extra bye week and open up Tues night as an extra night with the 2 teams who play it going into a bye-week afterwards (or playing the following Monday). A 2nd bye week also makes any international game more bearable, and cuts the chances of a team ever having a short week (ie. Sunday then Thursday) as more teams’ Thursday games could be scheduled to only play after a bye week. Hell, have a 3rd bye week and possibilities become endless. This gives us more weeks of football, more nights of football, the players get more rests and don’t play extra games, and the NFL gets more TV.

  19. And the players who have 3 plus years or more on their contract will want more money.

  20. “Sunday Swami says:
    May 29, 2019 at 7:15 pm
    @hanktadd
    You need to check your math it’s potentially 2 extra games not 3.”

    I was counting a “potential” extra playoff game, but you are right math is hard.

  21. You want 18 games? Fine, eliminate Thursday night games, eliminate games outside the US. Only Thursday game will be on Thanksgiving, Dallas/Detroit and alternating home games. Bye weeks should be weeks 9 and 10.

  22. Greed. Watering down the game! Maybe im one of the few that just wants quality over quantity. But then again im a pats fan so im use to seeing 18-19 game seasons!

  23. slimglynn says:
    May 29, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    I believe they can do an 18 game season with 2 preseason games. Increase to 60 man roster. However, each player can only play in 16 games and they have to be inactive for at least 2. Has a some strategy to it and I think it would be interesting.

    Here’s the only reason this won’t happen: teams won’t want to sit their starting QB for two games. That would mean having to spend significant money on your backup QB, as he will definitely start two games that the team will need to win. If he’s a late-round draft pick or a career backup, his 0-2 record could affect playoff seeding.

  24. Here is a way for free revenue for the NFL that doesn’t harm the players or alienate fans with a watered down product.

    Give each team 2 byes, so that they have 2 weeks not one where they don’t play. This lengthens the season by a game, so there are more games to watch on TV, it gives players more time to rest up.
    Have a bye before a Thursday night game, so its 10 or 11 days off before the Thursday night game. Play Sunday, rest 10 days, plat Thursday, then play the next Sunday 10 days later.

  25. Keep it 16 games but add a second bye. With all those extra byes start scheduling them so that teams playing on Thursday are always coming off a bye. That extra rest and especially not having to do short 4 day weeks would make things easier on the players, preserve them better. Meanwhile the NFL gets their extra week of revenue out of it. Win/win.

  26. Of course they will push for 18 games. Not because they think they can get it, but for something they can pretend like they are upset about giving up.

    If anything, it’s more likely they stay at 16 and drop a pre-season game, but allow some hitting in practice

  27. If the 18 game season MUST happen, they have to reduce the preseason by 2 games, expand rosters, two bye weeks…and NO MORE LONDON GAMES.

    And even then I’m not sure the NFLPA should consider it.

  28. The NFL could get more games if they instituted a bottom level playoff bracket. The last place 8-12 teams play 2 or 3 playoff rounds to fight for the top picks in the draft. The winner gets the 1st overall pick runner up 2nd pick and so on. Put these games opposite the wildcard and divisional round and watch the ratings skyrocket. Pay the players a handsome playoff bonus that increases with each round and you have 3 more weeks of meaningful games.

  29. Heard this same stuff when they went from 12 to 14 and again when they went from 14 to 16. These players make all kinds of money. 2 additional games Is not going to change much of anything, either like it or not. At one point and time they had 6 pre season games and head coaches were out to win all of them. Start the season a week earlier, run it a week later, have bye weeks in weeks 9 and 10 and be done with it. Who likes it when their team has a bye week in week 3, 4, 5, 11 or 12?

  30. Some of you commenters are ridiculous with your comments. These players will make more money in 1 season than any of us will make in a lifetime. I’d love to work only 18 weeks a year. If they get injured because of the extra week or 2, oh well, who is to say any one of us doesn’t get injured or killed on our job. Quit trying to protect these players, when they sign up they know the risks.

  31. To add to my playoff comment above, the draft championship” game to determine the winner of the 1st pick could be played during the week between the superbowl and conference championship game. Instead of wasting time with the pro bowl.

  32. A big majority of NFLPA members only play for a couple of years, then they’re done. This is the sort of thing they should support – take the two extra game cheques this year, because you won’t be here next year.

    But the NFLPA executives and team reps will never let it get to a vote.

  33. I’ve got the solution to this…expand by 1 game to 17 and contract the preseason to 2 games. The extra game is played at a neutral site (Mexico City, London, Canton, OH, Beijing, etc.), guaranteeing each team a neutral site game and more importantly, 8 home games. Also expand to two bye weeks. That gives the NFL two extra weeks of TV coverage – the same as adding two games. One bye follows the neutral site game, to give the teams an extra week for travel before the next game. The second bye week is before the Thursday night game. This solution gets everyone what they want – no more short weeks for the players, adding only one extra game, but securing two weeks of extra revenue. It also creates a more balance and even schedule for everyone – helping competitive balance.

  34. I have come to hate the idea of an 18 week season so much that I am pretty sure that will get me to stop watching. I am tired of I am tired of watching the league and this commissioner break something that never needed fixing. Regular season is long enough. Playoff field is large enough. Leave it alone.

  35. It’ll be like the NBA with players sitting, if they’re not hurt. So you’ll have too many lousy games where players mail it in, just like basketball.

  36. Leave the games alone. Expand roster to 60. Let the players blaze up for medicinal purposes. Winner of the super bowl gets to host the draft. No more early bye weeks. Reward a late round pick to teams with zero arrests during off season. Have the 2 weakest teams play a game, the winner gets the first overall pick to avoid flopping and add more excitement. Throw the pro bowl back to after the super bowl so players with grudges can take their anger out. Good for excitement. No more “above the law” crap. This suspension happy attitude needs to stop.

  37. Once more, it shows how much the owners and Goodell really care about their players. Playing an 18 game schedule is so stupid that it borders on insanity.
    The season is too long now with a 16 game season and two rounds of playoffs before the Super Bowl.
    Money, money, money. That’s all they care about and everything else doesn’t matter. If you don’t believe that, come to see me about the bridge I have for sale.
    I hope the players tell the owners to stick the extra two games where the sun doesn’t shine, but since they’ll get more money, they won’t. Because they are just as greedy as the owners.
    If the NFL does this, I don’t want to ever hear another word about CTE or any other players’ injuries again.

  38. An obvious bargaining chip for the league to negotiate away in exchange for an NFLPA concession during the next round of talks. This is how the “game” away from the game is played… accrue as many bargaining “chips” as you can then, negotiate them away for the points you really care about.

    Nothing to see here, move along.

  39. Still a stupid idea. It either pushes the start of the season into late August, pushes the Super Bowl to mid-February, or a little of both.

  40. NFL strategy – Dope em up then they won’t realize they’re playing 18 games.
    DeMaurice “what about health and brain damage?”
    Roger “what about MONEY”

  41. You can get more revenue AND make the players happier simply by adding a second bye week and thus extending the season a week. I’ve never understood why opposite sides refuse to even agree to the win wins staring them in the face.

  42. I wouldn’t mind a 17 Game season 16 Games played in the United States and 1 played internationally but cut the preseason to 2 Games.In order for this to happen players are going to want more guarantee and no more franchise tags.

  43. sityourselfdown says:
    May 30, 2019 at 12:24 am

    Rip all the records

    **********************
    I think you need to “Sit yourself down” and check history. The NFL expanded to 16 games relatively recently (1978) and they didn’t “rip up the record books”.

    But anybody with two brain cells understands not to compare stats based on TOTALS alone due to this.

    Or Eras for that matter.

  44. owners should strip goodell of the disciplinary authority he has repeatedly mismanaged and abused, give it to a three person committee with one NFLPA rep.

  45. Yeah, they really care about player safety and please get rid of Thursday games. It screws up life in general for everyone.

  46. ibillwt says: “owners should strip goodell of the disciplinary authority he has repeatedly mismanaged and abused, give it to a three person committee with one NFLPA rep.”
    ———————

    98% of the players keep their noses clean and DON’T care about Goodell’s “disciplinary authority”. No way would they sacrifice money or anything to protect the few 7-8 bad apples that violate the Personal Conduct Policy.

    All other fines/suspensions (PEDs, illegal hits, etc.) are NEGOTIATED in the CBA so it’s not like Goodell has any say in those disciplinary actions.

  47. It’ll be fun to see the NFL’s narrative on how more games won’t compromise player safety.

  48. If any change runs the schedule later in the winter who wants to go to a cold weather site like GB,Chicago etc in mid January or February? Simply cut 2 exhibition games and play 18 regular season games with 60 players.No games outside US soil either

  49. If I’m a player, it just doesn’t make sense not to go an extra two games. I get 48% of whatever additional tv revenue it produces. TV rights is about $9 billion – another two weeks is worth about $800m or $385m player’s share. I’m saying ‘no’ to that???

    As for safety, Football Outsiders looked at injury rates and they remained FLAT throughout the season, meaning Week 3 was just as risky as Week 16.

  50. Pushing for 18 game seasons, adding more gamedays per week, withholding $120mil from the players shared revenue pool, suppressing concussion research… but yea, the owners and Goodell care about the players.

  51. nite2al says: “Yeah, they really care about player safety and please get rid of Thursday games. It screws up life in general for everyone.”
    =================

    Fox paid $660 million per year for TNF. Player’s share is $316,800,000 or an extra $186,000 for every player in the union. Find me one player willing to take less money to skip TNF and also miss out on the mini-bye 10 day rest after.

    As for “safety”, TNF actually had slightly LOWER injury rate than Monday games and the same for Sunday games.

  52. I think that any discussion of adding 2 more regular season games begins and ends with the marijuana policy being de-emphasized or outright eliminated. It’s all about the CBA. You have to give something to get something. Expanded rosters is a great idea or at the very least making the entire 53-man roster active on game day. Both could lessen the wear and tear if the schedule expands by 2 games. That all said, I’d be surprised if this gets done. Every time it’s brought up, there’s a lot of discussion, and it has always ended up with a consensus of “Eh, maybe during the next CBA.”

  53. Add another round of play-off games. Add another bye-week, with no early bye-weeks Add more players to the roster, up to 65.

  54. jluckow says:
    May 30, 2019 at 8:20 am
    You can get more revenue AND make the players happier simply by adding a second bye week and thus extending the season a week. I’ve never understood why opposite sides refuse to even agree to the win wins staring them in the face.
    —————————————————
    Don’t be an id10t. You do not increase revenue by adding a bye week, you only extend the season. 256 games is 256 games, whether you play them over 17 weeks or 18, 19 or 20 weeks, it’s still 256 games. To increase revenue you have to increase the number of games.

    Keep it at 16, please, but get rid of Thursday night games.

  55. Pretty weak give/take if that is their big idea. Two more games of bashing your body, you would expect them to be giving a lot more then the marijuana argument.

  56. Another thing, who are you going to play in those 2 extra games? Current schedule is 6 divisional games, 1 intra-conference division on a 3 year rotation, 1 inter-conference division on a 4 year rotation, and 2 intra-conference games against teams that finished previous season in same divisional position as you, 1s play 1s, 2s play 2s and so on. The only thing I can see is maybe drop those last 2 games and play another inter-conference division instead. Actually, now that I think about it, go to 18 games with my schedule proposal, it increases the revenue by adding 2 weeks and decreases fan whining by making each team play 8 inter-conference games and 10 intra-conference games thereby stopping the whining about weak AFC or NFC teams.

  57. No big deal as long as thy get rid of 2 pre-season games. And also create an every year rivalry game between an AFC & NFC team.
    Ravens v Redskins
    Steelers v Eagles
    Texans v Dallas
    Rams v Chargers
    Niners v Raiders
    Jets v Giants

    and of course some teams don’t have natural rivalries,but make it a 10 year commitment and it becomes something.

  58. @switchwitch59
    Although it wouldn’t increase revenue as much by just adding a bye week it would increase revenue because your selling the networks an extra week of games so you’d get more from sunday package, you’d get more for the Sunday night package, you’d get more for the Thursday night package and more for the Monday night package as they would be selling 1 extra week of programming to the networks.

    Also saying to get rid of Thursday games just spits in the face of trying to create revenue because then they’d be giving up money.

  59. Sunday Swami says:
    May 30, 2019 at 11:23 am
    @switchwitch59
    Although it wouldn’t increase revenue as much by just adding a bye week it would increase revenue because your selling the networks an extra week of games so you’d get more from sunday package, you’d get more for the Sunday night package, you’d get more for the Thursday night package and more for the Monday night package as they would be selling 1 extra week of programming to the networks.

    Also saying to get rid of Thursday games just spits in the face of trying to create revenue because then they’d be giving up money.
    ————————————————-
    I don’t think they’d gain much, if any, revenue because although they would be extending the season by a week, they are also decreasing the value of the previous 17 weeks by removing games from them, 256 games is 256 games no matter how you divide them up. Say you take a week 7 game that would have had about 100 ads, move it to week 18, it would still have the same 100 ads. The only added value I can see is the 3 night games on the additional week. Sorry, I’m only the consumer, I’ve only negotiated to re-roof my house, so there’s probably more to it than I’m aware of.
    As for Thursday night football, I just hate it and should at least get to say so, but we’re stuck with it as they’ll never get rid of it. And just so you know, I’ve been laughing as I typed the last sentence.

  60. switchwitch59 says: “I don’t think they’d gain much, if any, revenue because although they would be extending the season by a week, they are also decreasing the value of the previous 17 weeks by removing games from them, 256 games is 256 games no matter how you divide them up.”
    ———————-

    The point is you’re not cannibalizing each other every Sunday. Having 6-7 games at the 1pm slot will have close to the same number of viewership as only 4-5 games. If your team isn’t playing that week, chances are you’ll just watch the next best matchup.

  61. @switchwitch59
    What your failing to account for is these games aren’t all already on tv. So yes there’s 256 games but local tv and the network deals don’t show every game so when there’s 9 games at 1 and 4 at 4 only 3 games are being shown but by putting in an extra week it would mean 6 extra games aired with the national games and Sunday afternoon. Again I’m not advocating for this choice but it would bring in likely half as much revenue as adding 2 games to the season as that only adds 12 games as well.

  62. akira1971 says:
    May 30, 2019 at 12:29 pm
    switchwitch59 says: “I don’t think they’d gain much, if any, revenue because although they would be extending the season by a week, they are also decreasing the value of the previous 17 weeks by removing games from them, 256 games is 256 games no matter how you divide them up.”
    ———————-

    The point is you’re not cannibalizing each other every Sunday. Having 6-7 games at the 1pm slot will have close to the same number of viewership as only 4-5 games. If your team isn’t playing that week, chances are you’ll just watch the next best matchup.
    —————————————————
    Depends on what the next best matchup is, I might not watch at all. But since you’re talking eyeballs and I’m talking ad revenue, which is what the price per week is based on for network broadcasts, the discussion is pointless. Peace out.

  63. @switchwitch59
    How do you think pricing for ads is generated? By eyeballs. The price per ad is based off the expected viewing numbers which anyway you want to slice it an extra week of games gets more eyeballs.

  64. I definitely do NOT want 18 game seasons. To many injuries as is through an NFL season.

  65. Nfl: we have to completely change the game you love because of injuries and if he benefits our fantasy football cash hog so be it.

    Also nfl: we need more games so more players get hurt and the super bowl becomes even more about attrition then talent and good football

    Also also nfl: we havent had quality football since 2009

  66. akira1971 says:

    May 30, 2019 at 10:27 am

    nite2al says: “Yeah, they really care about player safety and please get rid of Thursday games. It screws up life in general for everyone.”
    =================

    Fox paid $660 million per year for TNF. Player’s share is $316,800,000 or an extra $186,000 for every player in the union. Find me one player willing to take less money to skip TNF and also miss out on the mini-bye 10 day rest after.

    As for “safety”, TNF actually had slightly LOWER injury rate than Monday games and the same for Sunday games.

    ==========================

    Goodell and the owners got bagged a couple years ago sheltering $120 million from a shared revenue pool with the players. I wouldn’t be so certain the players are actually getting all the money that they should. And the head injury research shows that any repeated head impact after already having a concussion history is damaging. Players don’t need to be taken out of a game to feel the impact of more frequent hits before being able to recover.

  67. A compromise instead of 18 games:

    3 Preseason games – 1 home, 1 away, 1 somewhat local “neutral” site games with cheaper than standard NFL tickets

    17 Regular season games – the standard 8 home, 8 away, and one neutral site game that’s either international or at a big non-NFL American stadium.

  68. Dang football owners are greedy. Enough 16 games are enough. Teams hardly get through a 16 game season with enough players. No to 18 game season.

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