Mark Murphy changes his tune on more regular-season games, dramatically

Getty Images

The formal and official push for 18 regular-season games has begun. The latest, and perhaps best, evidence of it comes from comments made Friday by Packers CEO Mark Murphy at the team’s annual shareholders meeting.

“What we do know is our current preseason is not a good product,” Murphy said, via Darren Rovell of “Our players don’t need four games and it seems like fewer starters are playing in them. Maybe another way to do this is to add one neutral site game and one international one for every team, so we can use this to grow the game.”

In other words, one plus one is two. And 16 plus two is 18.

That marks a dramatic reversal for Murphy, who has said clearly and unequivocally on multiple past occasions that an increase to 18 games won’t work.

“On the 18-game season, with the concerns about health and safety, we can’t justify increasing the season,” Murphy told Peter King in December 2016.

Murphy made similar remarks at least three times before that.

“I think with all the concern about player health and safety, it would be difficult to go from 16 regular-season games to 18,” Murphy said in 2015.

“I think with all the concerns about the health and safety of players, it’s hard to justify,” Murphy said in 2013. “To go from 16 to 18 regular-season [games] would be a lot more wear and tear. It would be additional games for your starters.”

Here’s Murphy from 2012: “I couldn’t support a move to 18 [regular-season games] and two [preseason games]. With the focus on player safety, it would be really hard to support that.”

So what has prompted Murphy to do such an about face? Given that he previousy has rooted his opposition to an expanded regular season in concerns regarding player health and safety, Murphy possibly believes that the advances in player health and safety now permit an increase in the total inventory of games that count.

Or maybe Murphy realizes that, in the context of CBA talks that haven’t happened since 2011, now is the time to argue that advances in health and safety permit an increase in regular season games. Regardless, something has caused Murphy to change his tune so sharply, and that something likely is the same color as his team’s home jerseys.

UPDATE 5:25 p.m. ET: Different versions of Murphy’s quotes have emerged, contrary to Rovell’s. Daniel Kaplan of writes that Murphy discussed 17 regular-season games as a potential idea. Either way, he previously had been opposed to expanding the regular season at all. He now isn’t.

22 responses to “Mark Murphy changes his tune on more regular-season games, dramatically

  1. I don’t see how this is any kind of reversal on his part. He said he didn’t want players playing 18 games. This proposal limits them to 16 games.

  2. Never understood the hatred for the preseason:

    1. No one is forcing you to watch
    2. No one is forcing coaches to play their starters (yet they do every year and complain when injuries happen)

  3. As a fan give me 2 more games instead of preseason garbage. Increase the rosters on the whole and on game day so more players can get opportunities. Increase salary cap to match and let’s go. If you really felt it’s that horrible, limit players to 16 games so now coaches have to get strategic on when to rest guys. Would love extra games to watch

  4. “Maybe another way to do this is to add one neutral site game and one international one for every team, so we can use this to grow the game.””

    I guess he reads PFT and some other sites, because the first time I ever saw this is print, I wrote it.

  5. When will the players realize that they have the upper hand…they are the product that we want to watch. They need start their own league and be done working for these billionaires. Have Peyton Manning as the commissioner. I don’t think they would see any funding problems.

  6. He’s talking about shortening the preseason to 2 games. 1 international game. 1 neutral site game.

  7. I don’t understand what’s wrong with the preseason. So the scrubs only play… so what it’s still football. If you want to change the location that’s fine. The only reason there’s hate for preseason is because the league wants to add to the regular season

  8. “Evidence of it comes from comments made Friday by Packers CEO Mark Murphy at the team’s annual shareholders meeting.”

    If Mark Murphy said this(which I can’t confirm he did at this time) it was said to Darren Rovell in a interview, not at the shareholders meeting. The shareholders meeting is July 24th.

  9. So what has prompted Murphy to do such an about face?
    Alas, one man's flip-flop is another man "evolving". Isn't that the de rigueur approach our culture seems to now embrace for those whose opinions change over time?

  10. It wasn’t the annual share holders’ meeting. It was the release of their financials. Meeting is at the end of July.

  11. They need start their own league…
    Please make this happen so we can restock the NFL without these whining kneelers. The game would be so much better to watch.

  12. If he gets called out on it, he will reconcile the inconsistency with the 18 game season but each player can only play 16 (except QBs, kickers and punters).

  13. Ideal 4 week pre-season would be 3 games and an in-house scrimmage:
    – one home game and one away game in pre-season Weeks 1 and 3
    – one neutral site game for everyone in pre-season Week 2- 16 non-NFL cities
    – the Week 4 in-house scrimmage- free to anyone who wants to come watch

    This way I pay for only 1 pre-season game in the ST package, 16 cities get an NFL “game” and each team has an open scrimmage for anyone to attend and enjoy.

  14. An 18 game schedule while players only play 16 games won’t work for me. Who wants to pay full price to see backups. I never liked preseason games. The football is subpar, nothing that happens really matters except for injuries. A waste of time. Eliminate two preseason games and add one to the regular season. But that is a loss of one games revenue, one less meaningless game to get hurt in, and one more regular season game to watch that counts, but that is a non-starter for the mega-rich owners.

  15. filthymcnasty3 says:
    July 13, 2019 at 10:21 am
    Reducing the preseason may have the added side benefit of avoiding completely unnecessary Viking training camp tragedies.


    Instead of your tireless effort in trolling Korey Stringers death. You may want to put your efforts in the Korey Stringer Institute.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.