DeMaurice Smith: 18-game schedule not in players’ best interest

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The NFL and its owners want an 18-game regular season. The players don’t.

NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith made that clear Friday night after confirming a report that the league broached the possibility of an 18-game season with a maximum per-player limit of 16 games.

“I don’t see an 18-game schedule — under any circumstance — being in the best interest of our players,” Smith told Cameron Wolfe of ESPN. “If somebody wants to make an 18-game proposal, we’ll look at it. I haven’t seen anything that makes me think that it would be good for the players.”

The NFL long has wanted 18 games. The NFLPA long has opposed it.

To get to 18 games, the NFL needs the NFLPA’s approval. That likely means a financial offer the players can’t refuse.

Smith, though, sounds as if no amount of money will prompt a change of heart from the NFLPA.

“Fans and media discuss what would happen to ratings and revenue or whether [18 games] is a good idea or bad idea,” Smith told ESPN. “For us, it comes down to who players are as men and is it good for us. If a coal miner is willing to spend more time in the hole, does it likely result in more money? Yeah. Is that a good thing for him as a person? Probably not. That’s the question nobody confronts. It’s easy to say it’s more money. But is it good for us? The answer is no.”

The 18/16 proposal has left many questions, including roster sizes and how teams would competitively manage players.

“Why is it our job to figure out how to make 18 games work as players?” Smith said. “You tell someone you’re going to work longer and you figure out how to make it work? That doesn’t work. It’s not our job to put that square peg in the round hole.”

The NFL and NFLPA will continue their CBA negotiating sessions next weekend, Josina Anderson of ESPN reports. The current CBA expires after the 2020 season.

47 responses to “DeMaurice Smith: 18-game schedule not in players’ best interest

  1. What happens when a team is 12-0, locked up their division, and starts resting the starters with 6 games to go? It’s happened in a 16 game season, would happen in 18 games. It would be worse than 4 preseason games for the fans.

  2. Isn’t it time the owners change the dynamics of the game? The parties could enter into an agreement with the Australian Rules Football League to broadcast their games during the “down time” of the NFL (the Australian Football League schedule could easily be adjusted to the NFL). The NFL could broadcast on the NFL channel (renamed the “Football Channel”) and the owners could reap a HUGE economic benefit while the NFL players will be frozen out (unless they can negotiate a piece of the AFL pie). Does anyone think the NFL Players will not want to reap the benefit of a year round competition schedule? The new CBA is about being creative – not reactionary! Isn’t it time they began engaging their brains?

  3. The 18/16 idea is the most interesting to come along in a long time. With expanded rosters it could easily be a win for players. The idea that fans are hurt because important players might not play the game they go to is a bit misleading as players get injured all the time and often for very long stretches, and the fans have already paid up.
    This would allow better player development and create a lot of interesting matchup choices/decisions to be made by coaches and gms.
    Starters could get a few extra games off with good backups and be healthier.
    Very interesting proposal that could benefit everyone. Coaches, fans, starters, backups, agents, owners.

  4. Whatever they do, just don’t do that rule where players can only play 16 out of 18 games. I’d love to see more games if it means less preseason games but no ridiculous gimmicks. If they can’t find a way where everyone is on board and it makes sense, then drop it. I’m concerned what it could mean in terms of injuries and quality of play over the long haul. Players will have shorter careers I would think so they’re gonna have to pay the players more and something tells me these greedy ass owners will do everything in their power to not have to do that.

  5. Not in fans best interest either. For all the complaints I sometimes have about the NFL the length of season and playoff structure are not any of them. 16 regular season games is great, I’d like the preseason to go down to two games. The playoffs are great the way they are just leave it alone.

  6. I don’t get the big idea for eighteen games. What’s wrong with sixteen? I remember when a season was twelve games. Some of you probably remember when they were ten games. I think sixteen is long enough. If anything, they could shorten the pre-season but then they wouldn’t be able to gouge the fans full price to watch what is essentially a scrimmage. The players would want more money, and probably more than the 12.5% increase in games. Honestly, why shouldn’t they. It’s more wear and tear and sixteen games is long enough.

    Not that any of it matters. You know the NFL owners aren’t going to want to give an extra penny.

  7. The players keep crowing that marijuana helps them manage their pain better than the prescriptions the team docs give out. Would they be willing to give up the 18 game season to gain the NFL dropping marijuana testing?

  8. “If a coal miner is willing to spend more time in the hole, does it likely result in more money? Yeah. Is that a good thing for him as a person? Probably not. That’s the question nobody confronts. It’s easy to say it’s more money. But is it good for us? The answer is no.”

    That is a terrible comparison, because the proposal doesn’t put the coal miner in the hoel for any extra amount of time … 16 game max, just like it currently is. It simply opens the mines a few extra days, so that out-of-work miners can pick up some part-time work as needed.

    What the proposal does is give more players currently on the bubble of being cut during the pre-season the opportunity to earn a living during the regular season, by creating more meaningful roster spots.

    What you are actually saying is that you don’t want to pick up extra hours in the mine, but you are also too selfish to allow out-of-work miners to pick up those extra hours that you aren’t able to work.

  9. By mid season I’m already bored due to horrible officiating, bad broadcast matchups, moronic money grab pre game and during game nonsense that takes away from the you know….game!

    Losing appeal.

  10. “I don’t see an 18-game schedule — under any circumstance — being in the best interest of our players,” Smith told Cameron Wolfe of ESPN. “If somebody wants to make an 18-game proposal, we’ll look at it.”

    ———-

    Who does this clown think he Is? The OWNERS.. have the power to unanimously enforce a 18 game schedule. They have proven they aren’t afraid to replace players or referees.

  11. With the players limited to 16 games, the fans who had to scrimp and save to go see a game, may be forced to watch a preseason type game, with the players they saved up so hard to see ride the bench. Everyone is not wealthy enough to own season tickets!

  12. “Smith, though, sounds as if no amount of money will prompt a change of heart from the NFLPA.”

    Oh, I’ll wager this just a negotiating stance and there is a 100% chance there is an amount of compensation that will make an 18 game schedule a reality.

  13. Increase roster size to 57
    Install a 2nd bye week (none before week 4 or after week 16)
    Loose 2 pre season games
    Eliminate overtime except for playoffs
    Allow up to 4 players to be activated off pup list after 6 weeks not 8 to now include players on IR to be activated after week 10 if recovered & healthy enough to pass physical
    Make 18 game schedule 1 home & 1 away game
    Eliminate the franchise tag & 5th year option on 1st rounders
    Make contracts fully guaranteed

  14. I don’t think the Jets fanbase is gonna be eager to see an 0-18 season from their team.

  15. Have an 18 week schedule but add a bye To each team instead of a game, stay 16 games per team. Then with the extra byes it should be possible to have teams playing Thursday to always be coming off a bye. That actually softens player risk. That gives 18 weeks, an extra week for the NFL to rake in extra money. They will too. Enough people still watch when their team isnt playing, either other games or red zone that they will still get their viewership or enough of it for a pay off.

  16. Worst Players’ Union in North American sports.

    An 18 Game WOULD be in player’s interests if you added another bye week, insisted there was a bye after Monday Night Games and before Thursday games, and players were restricted to only playing in 16 games a regular season.

    Result: More money and more rest.

  17. Football fans that want less games that count as opposed to more games that count seems odd to me. I for one just hate 4 pre-season games. I like the idea of trading 2 preseason games for 2 regular season games and maybe expanding the roster so players can be at equal risk of injury then as they are today based on actual on field playing time.

  18. What they don’t get it is the season is already too long. They play 17 weeks already and then wild card playoff weekend, then conference championship weekend, then 2 weeks later play the Super Bowl.
    I love football — but not this NFL as much as I used to. I think it’s over-saturated already and when you add up all the crap we’re bombarded with from ESPN and the NFL Channel about the NFL, it’s like being forced to listen to Barry Manilow music non-stop for a week. I mean, enough is enough!!
    Throw in that the NFL couldn’t care less about the fans and that it will cost more for the fans to see 18 games than it does 16, and it’s another reason that fans are becoming turned off by the NFL.
    As far as I’m concerned, if they add two more games to the schedule, they can play them in the Middle East or China for all I care — because I’m not watching them.
    It’s all about money and we all know that. More money for the owners, and more money for the players.

  19. Playing football is not in the players’ best health interests. But an expanded roster, more money to go around, higher salary cap, is all better for the players’ jobs. Maybe it is too hard on players physically, just expand the rosters and adjust the game to make up the difference and then some.

    Smith has to sound like he will not go for changes until the NFL is willing to give up enough to make it worth it to the players. Then magically Smith (or whoever is representing the players at that time) will be shockingly okay with changes.

  20. If the owners want more football the only way I see this working is by ditching two pre season games, Adding one or two playoff games and one neutral site regular season game for every team if that is domestic or international I don’t care. and maybe add an additional bye week for teams after their neutral site game.

    in trade ditch the franchise tag, Thursday Night games, and make contracts guaranteed.

  21. To anyone saying the Owners can force this, they can’t, they need the Union’s approval, but I hear they will replace players, as if they’d get the same ratings with replacement players, they’d lose money, 18 games is not in the players best interest.

  22. The Thursday night four days rest games would be starting a lot of third stringers. Not sure how the battle of the practice squads will do in TV ratings.

  23. It’s rare for humanity to be blessed with an intellect like that of DeMaurice Smith.
    And to think he happens to be the NFLPA Executive Director just boggles the mind.
    I mean, what are the odds?

  24. Eliminate 2 Pre-Season games and add 1 extra regular season game or an extra Playoff round.

  25. torgow says:
    July 13, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Poll NFL fans on the 18 game thing. It will be hilarious, probably about 3% want the extra games.

    Pretty sure 2 more meaningful games would go over pretty well with the actual fans. The NFL already knows the “I’ll Never watch again!!!” crowd is full of it.

  26. Players adamant about getting rid of the franchise tag as someone posted above? Owners want 18 games? Let the negotiations begin!

  27. Batmanuel says:
    July 13, 2019 at 7:49 am
    Have an 18 week schedule but add a bye To each team instead of a game, stay 16 games per team. Then with the extra byes it should be possible to have teams playing Thursday to always be coming off a bye. That actually softens player risk. That gives 18 weeks, an extra week for the NFL to rake in extra money. They will too. Enough people still watch when their team isnt playing, either other games or red zone that they will still get their viewership or enough of it for a pay off.

    ******

    Perfection!!!

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