Report: Owners have proposed 18 games, with a 16-game limit for each player

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The idea is hardly new, but it’s emergence as a formal concept in collective bargaining is.

Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal reports that, as part of the NFL’s push for 18 regular-season games, the league has advanced the possibility of an 18-game season with a per-player limit of 16 games per year.

That idea has been percolating for years; it’s been the subject of multiple PFT stories, PFT Live discussions, and #PFTPM monologues.

Most recently, the topic was discussed during an interview with Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy last month, the video of which is attached to this blurb (the question is asked at the 9:37 mark).

The next day, Coach Dungy called after the show with another important observation: Some fans will revolt against an 18/16 approach. For example, this year the Browns play at Arizona in Week 15; it’s Cleveland’s once-per-eight-years trip to the desert. Browns fans in Phoenix who want (and who paid) to see Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, and Jarvis Landry play would be upset if they found out 90 minutes before kickoff that one or more of them is healthy, but not playing.

As to Mayfield and all other quarterbacks, the problem could be solved by an exception for that position, given the enhanced safety rules that apply to them. (Kickers, punters, holders, and long-snappers would/should get similar treatment.) Still, the NFL has plenty of stars who aren’t quarterbacks, and plenty of fans would be plenty pissed off if they show up for a game hoping to see a star player who isn’t playing because this is one of the two games that he won’t be playing.

The fact that the NFL would even suggest such a revolutionary concept, one that oozes with unintended consequences, shows how desperate the league is to expand the regular season — and how effectively the NFL Players Association has rebuffed those efforts. At this point, the league may get 18 games only by making the players a financial offer they can’t refuse.

144 responses to “Report: Owners have proposed 18 games, with a 16-game limit for each player

  1. I wonder if it could be broken down to quarters so a total of 64 quarters so you you rest startes if you are up or down by 14 in the 4th. BTW I know having 4 quarters off is not the same as taking a week off from the physical strains of playing in an NFL game

  2. League – Offer 18 games

    NFLPA – Fine, but the commissioner can’t be judge, jury, executioner

    League – Fine there will be a 5 person arbitration panel 1 of the 5 is the commissioner

    NFLPA – Legalize recreational marijuana use

    You gotta be willing to give up things if you want other items.

  3. So much for consecutive games played records and the like. This is a horrible way to handle things.

  4. If the proposal doesn’t include the exemption for the QB position then what’s the point? That would mean 2 additional losses for middle of the road teams.

  5. Would they expand the roster of each team? There are positions that get mighty thin. But this won’t fly. They might as well let fans suit up for 2 games. Cut the pre season and add the 2 games. the roster should be at 60 to help fill often injured positions, like corner safety, O line RB..

  6. That’s the only way to break this stalemate is to offer the players a TON cash to get them to agree! But we all know fans want 18 games!It’s gonna happen folks…. amiright?

  7. That would make an interesting change in strategy for teams. I wonder if teams would put in 100% backups when playing a game they have a good chance of losing (ie “tanking” certian games) to leave their best players available for other games.

    The other thing the owners could do is offer a larger % of money to the players for those two extra games only.

  8. With the 18/16 approach, would they allow for expanded rosters?

    If they exempt certain positions, would they increase the salary cap so that players at those positions earn more money for having to play more games?

    They’d better exempt kickers. If the Bears had to carry two kickers on their roster, I don’t think they could take it.

  9. or teams can pull players earlier in the season on non critical games and save their stars for the end of the season when the games matter

  10. The dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Let’s give top paid, top level athletes a couple weeks off so they don’t get hurt. How many do you all get?

  11. The dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Let’s give top paid, top level athletes a couple weeks off so they don’t get hurt. How many do you all get?

  12. This is an awful idea. Can only imagine the backlash if a big name player was held out of a nationally televised game. If the owners are so insistent on an 18 game regular season, they need to come up with a better idea than this.

  13. So in addition to the trend toward mediocrity, the NFL wants to add 2 games by watering down the on field talent by limiting how much the best players can play. We want more games but we don’t want fans to see the best product we have.

  14. This reasoning is ridicuolus. If the player is hurt, they can’t seem them play anyway. What difference does it make? We see the same thing now with week 15 and 16 games when the team has nothing to play for and hold out players.

    The big money is in TV, and not in making stadium fans happy.

  15. This would be the best way to do it could add some interesting strategy to how teams have to play their best players to win games. But again there are always unintended consequences. I’d be kind of ticked if I had to watch backup players for a game if I was a fan that paid for a ticket.

  16. Awful. Play two more games or don’t. If I want to pay top dollar to watch star players sit without much notice, then I’d buy NBA tickets.

  17. Also expand the Rosters to 62 and introduce the use of the safest helmets on the Market (regardless of sponsorship) and “player safety” might not just be lip-service.

  18. Absolutely, without question, the dumbest rule change ever proposed. I think I’d have to switch all attention to the NHL if this actually takes place.

  19. Think about Oline. No team is going to sit all 5 starters for 2 games, more than likely one a game each. This would lead to 10/18 games with a weakened oline (not counting inevitable injuries). Weakened oline means a an inferior offensive product along with a higher risk of injury to skill positions. seems like a poor idea that has not been well thought out

  20. Players should ok an 18 game season for fully guaranteed contracts. Even if contracts get shorter to 3-4 years, they come out ahead.

  21. Owners will have to stop attending games. Their comfy boxes will be covered in beer, hotdogs, and nachos so they can’t see the action if important players are taken off the field for their greed.

  22. League: We want 18 games. Players: Nope, too dangerous, we can’t risk the injuries.

    League: OK then, you only play 16 of them. Players: But we will really want to play because we don’t like sitting out!

    It is becoming nonsensical.

    Why don’t we analyze the increase in injuries that occurred as a result of the transition from a 14 game season to a 16 game season?

  23. I don’t think qb’s will be all that excited losing their LT for a game either…

  24. This absolutely the dumbest idea’s I’ve ever heard of pertaining to the NFL. So, okay you’re going to bench Brady, does the other team have to bench their star QB?

    Here’s an idea: QUIT MESSING WITH THE GAME.

  25. No fan wants this. It will ruin the game. But if it has to happen let them have 60-man rosters with no inactives.

  26. This would be awful for every reason. Literally no upside except for the owners.

  27. This is only slightly less dumb than the Tampa Bay Rays wanting to play half of their baseball season in Montreal.

  28. 2 preseason; 8 home; 8 away; 1 neutral international; 2 bye (one after the international game); This will never happen because there will be only 9 home games.

  29. IMO, this sounds like a dumb plan. 2 more games per year is the opposite of promoting player safety. The 16 game player limit makes no sense either. Just a dumb plan, which is normal for the NFL

  30. I think 2 options would make more sense:

    18 game schedule = 2 byes
    18 game schedule = no play on sunday, play on thursday scenarios.

    Expand roster to 70, dress and activate all 70 players.

  31. I will NOT watch the NFL anymore if it goes to an 18 game schedule. the reason I like football is because every game matters. Have you ever heard the expression, “less is more”?

  32. Not only the stupidest idea ever. But I am hearing wails and cries from Las Vegas as there would be no way to set a line. Given the interest and expanded Sports gambling. This has to be the dumbest thing Goodell ever did

  33. That would your beloved team would have to play their backup QB for 2 games.

    Well, I would say that the Packers, Saints, Patriots, Rams, Chiefs, Seahawks, Colts, and maybe the Steelers as teams that wouldn’t be happy.

  34. NO team with a high-level QB will sit him for two games. The NFL can’t find 32 top-tier starting QBs as it is, now they want 64? Because your second-string signal caller is guaranteed two games at the helm, and a good team is NOT going to throw those games away when they’re the difference between home field and a long flight in the playoffs.

  35. All I can say to this is the first thing this farcical notion brought to MY mind is, “Wait, Brady’s gonna miss two games…just because?”

    Make it four games. That seems to work out well for us. Go Patriots!

  36. Owners want the revenue generated from 2 more regular season games. But, for teams it’s like playing 2 more exhibition games except the games count in the final standings. One of the worst ideas ever by the owners!

  37. This is so dumb. Let’s put a much of players that no one wants to see out on the field for two games that count. Next idea please.

  38. “At this point, the league may get 18 games only by making the players a financial offer they can’t refuse.”

    And the only financial offer they will consider is fully guaranteed contracts. Something the owners will not offer.

    So kiss your 18 game season Goodbye Goodell.

  39. One of the main reasons that the NFL is the #1 sport is because every game counts so much. This would water down the meaningfulness of each game, and you would have a lot of games decided by less talented players. It reminds me of strike year where teams that had better scabs ended up making the playoffs over more talented teams. Stupid idea all around. Penny wise and pound foolish.

  40. Roster size has to increase. The 53 man roster needs to increase to 60 players, game day actives need to increase from 46 to 52 players and the Practice Squad needs to increase from 10 to 12 players plus one International Player.

    The 18 game schedule with up to 16 games per players, exempting some positions, is a great idea.

  41. Sounds like Thursday and Monday night football games would be a prime candidate to sit stars who would like extra rest. And the Thanksgiving games even moreso. TV networks wouldn’t like that so much.

    Also with the easing of sports betting laws and the huge fantasy football market, this seems like it would reek havoc on those two industries.

  42. So basically, let’s take two preseason games and stick them at the end of the season when good teams are resting starters and bad teams are seeing what they have for next year. Genius. People are going to LOVE watching weeks 18 and 19.

  43. That is more stupid than when NHL put a blue light around the puck so NHL neophytes could watch a game on TV.

  44. Terrible idea, just what the league needs, more garbage QB play. Can’t wait to see a David Fales vs Brett Hundley quality matchup each week. Make sure to put those on Sunday or Monday too, really showcase the league.

    Will the league mandate which QB’s and “skill” players can’t sit for their primetime showcase games?

    What a crap show.

  45. week 16-17 are pointless now anyway if you’re not one of the top 12 teams. so week 16-19 will be even more pointless??? stop ruining a system that works.

  46. This is a bad idea, but not because fans are going to miss out on seeing star players. Football fans follow teams, not individuals. This isn’t the NBA. It never will be, I hope.

  47. No way I want to pay full prices for the Cleveland game Baker sits out. Or the game Brady sits.

  48. Sounds like someone is using the Little League restrictions for pitchers as a base. The NFL is looking worse and worse each year.

  49. The players union will have to get something big – like guaranteed contracts – to accept 18 games.

  50. It would be more interesting to NOT give exemptions for kickers/punters and limit them to 16 games as well. Let’s see who else can kick XPs or FG. Wes Welker did it for the Pats a few years back and Kamu Gruier-Hill ,a linebacker was forced to do some kicking a few years ago… It would be a throwback to the old days when guys like SidLuckman, Lou Groza and Gino Capelletti were position players and kickers.

  51. This is probably the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard of in professional sports. So let’s not put our best players out there every week? Expand the rosters so owners can pay more people? Vegas is gonna need to know the guys that are out ahead of time? I mean I realize there’s a lot of missed games due to injury but come on. The NFL should just suck up as much gambling revenue it can get and stop nickel and diming everything. It won’t end well.

  52. This is exactly what I have been hoping would happen. The union will love it because they will need more members (I.e. rosters will need to increase) and fans will love it because, hey more football. It will mean 2-3 more weeks of football if they add a second bye. These extra weeks will spill into February, which is a dead zone for sports as it is. Play will improve as you will have more opportunity to rest players that are signed up.

    This is the best idea from the NFL in a LONG time.

  53. So at least 2 games with out the starting QB? No thanks I’ll find something else’s to do on those 2 Sunday’s.

  54. A nineteen week season with three bye weeks would solve the Thursday night fiasco by allowing these games to be played exclusively by teams coming off byes and would like generate almost as much revenue as the addition of two extra games. The two extra fantasy weeks will assure an audience even if your team is on a bye. Make sure you schedule quality games on Sunday and Monday night Everyone plays in week 1 and week 19.

  55. Assuming that QB’s and specialists are excluded, I think it could be a good idea. Star players miss games as it is, or else they’re so beat up by the end of the season, they’re less than 100%. Most teams would likely sit slightly-to-moderately injured players for the two games rather than sitting a completely healthy player. Rosters would need to be expanded. Despite two extra games, the extra weeks off could result in healthier teams come playoff time.

  56. I think you might need to re-read the article. The entire point of this rule is to require inactives.

    mikebara33 says:
    No fan wants this. It will ruin the game. But if it has to happen let them have 60-man rosters with no inactives.

  57. This could drive the QB money salaries down. Quite a bit. Since now you have to have a competent backup for at least 2 games.

  58. The only way the players would accept this is if the revenue share percentage is increased to 50%.

  59. The “average” NFL player is available and “uninjured” for about 14 of the 16 games now. I can’t understand the negativity on this board. Increase the roster and game day actives and increase the season to 18 games, with only 16 games maximum per player, exempting QB, LS, K and P. It would probably work out that most players would only be available for 16 of the 18 games anyway. There was a study done and the average of being out two games per player is a real number. At the beginning of the season, a team with a guy out with a minor injury could sit game one to heal up and use one of his 2 games. I think the strategy involved would be great. My guess is most people don’t like it because of the impact on fansasy football.

  60. Wonder if everyone knows there used to be 12 games seasons, and 14 game seasons? Not saying I am in favor but all the “what a joke” or “fans don’t want this” comments are dumb. Someone obviously wants it otherwise we would still be playing 12 games a season.

  61. The NFl and their experts are filled with horrible ideas. There doesn’t seem to be an end to them. You would think eventually they would luck up onto 1 good idea. The last good one was the forward pass

  62. This is an atrociously bad idea. The current gripe that four preseason games is too many would be addressed by essentially pushing those games into the regular season, and making teams sit their starters for two games, an attempting to juggle who sits when. Throw in the injury factor and you have a recipe for a complete farce.

    What happens if your starting QB (or any position player) is deactivated and the backup gets hurt during the game? How many more roster spots will the owners be willing to pay for? This idea needs to be left on the ash heap where it belongs.

  63. Wah, what a dumb idea! More football?!? I mean come on, pushing more football on me and forcing me to watch is a stupid idea. Didn’t you hear me? I don’t want guitar lessons.

  64. Kinda sounds like two regular season games are now going to end up as essentially preseason games. Fans will just be left wondering which ones teams are going to be willing to disrespect them with, instead of knowing in advance.

  65. You would think that billionaires would make smarter decisions than this. It also ignores player safety.

  66. How is someone to set a new consecutive games played streak record if your limiting their season? That isn’t very fair.

  67. So there is just gonna be two games where a team will have to use their backup QB… I’m starting to think this is about money and not about football.

  68. Have four quarters of games that each eliminate one team from the conference at the end of the quarter. First two quarters would have five games each. Put a bye in between the first quarter and second quarter and then the last eight games would be the playoff run quarters. At the playoff time you’d have eliminated three stinkers from each conference that weren’t going to make the playoffs anyway and you remove “easy games” from the schedule to those trying to get into the playoffs. Then you ban teams from resting starters in the last four games by making it so that any player who does not play in the last four games is not eligible to play in the playoffs.

  69. 18 games two bye weeks if you play TNF the week before is one of your bye weeks. All players available every week. Expand the rosters to 60 players. It would add 3 weeks to the season. Still start the regular season in September and play into the third week of February leading right up to March Madness. 17 TNF games the opening night and 16 games every team would play TNF once except the opening teams they would play twice.

    Seahawksfan here so their schedule this year would be:

    Week 1 vs CIN
    Week 2 vs @ PIT
    Week 3 vs NO
    Week 4 vs 1st BYE (@ AZ)
    Week 5 vs LAR TNF
    Week 6 @ CLE
    Week 7 vs BAL
    Week 8 @ ATL
    Week 9 vs TB
    Week 10 vs @ SF
    Week 11 2nd BYE
    Week 12 @ PHI
    Week 13 vs MIN
    Week 14 @ LAR
    Week 15 @ CAR
    Week 16 vs AZ
    Week 17 vs SF
    Week 18 @ AZ (move from week 4)
    Since Seahawks finished 2nd in NFC West they play 2nd place NFC East/North teams they would play first place teams from the same division. If they would have finished in third or fourth they would play the the third and fourth place teams. The two following games would be added on:
    Week 19 vs 1st place NFC East team from last year: Cowboys
    Week 20 vs 1st place NFC North team from last year: Bears
    Keep the same playoff format it is the best of the four major sports IMO.

  70. Jan 1st/2018. Buffalo has just beaten Miami but need a Bengals win to make the playoffs for the fist time in 18 years. Andy Dalton threw a touchdown pass with seconds left, Buffalo went through and the Ravens went home. If you were Buffalo, with with new system,same possible outcomes, would you like your hopes to be riding on Cincinnati’s subs ( if that’s one of the games the Bengals chose to rest their starters)…???

  71. I can see it now…..Eagles and Cowboys meet in Week 19 to determine which one gets top seed and home field advantage in the playoffs. The only problem is that Carson Wentz (who is consensus league MVP) has already played 16 games and must sit out this game due to CBA 18/16 rule. Nope…that idea will never fly!

  72. Hey America, if you don’t want your games to be played in neutral cities, sell the hell out of your home games……..The pressure to play more games comes from cities who want games played in their city……..

    Simple.

  73. 18 Games are fine, no limit to player time, add 12 names to the game day roster for each team to enable rotation and institute better management of player time. This will allow teams to increase depth when/where and how they see fit. I also believe that practice squads should have expansion up to 22 players, and increased minimum pay and benefits, tenure, eligibility per player on the practice squad.

    Bottom line, increased games with limitations on who plays how long will further dilute quality. Increased game day eligibility and practices squad rosters enable development to increase quality of the product.

  74. Please let viewers know which Patriots games Tom Brady will not play in.

    The NFL is the game that it is because every game counts.

  75. I like a 18 week season if only they didn’t make a 16 game restraint. really stupid

  76. Terrible idea. The game of football is exciting because the best possible physical talents of each side are on the field at all times. This radically changes the strategy into a dull calculus of strategic depth. Football fans are there to see an intense, physical match.

  77. Imagine how this would complicate things?!!! The coaches having to keep track of the games played by players? Would if someone played a 17th game ? Would the team have to forfeit a game like they do in high school/college for ieligible players?!!!! lol

  78. This is basically the owners trying to get two pre season caliber games into the regular schedule. They’d basically be giving teams two tank games a year. And that’s for all teams. The teams in playoff contention would be tanking 3-4 games once their playoff slot was locked in. Overall this would be a dilution of the product existing solely to make more money for the league. Money they’d still only pass on to the players after a heated debate, no doubt.

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