CBA based on 17-game season suddenly in doubt

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The momentum has grown in recent months for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that expands the NFL’s regular season from 16 to 17 games. As the NFL Players Association prepares for a Thursday meeting of the union’s board of player representatives, a source with knowledge of the dynamics of the situation tells PFT that a 17-game season remains a very difficult to sell to the players.

While there’s always a chance for posturing in a situation like this (and there will be plenty of that as the plane lands), the thinking is that the push for player health and safety makes it more difficult to get players to agree to another regular-season game. Complicating matters is that the season has just ended; as the source explained it, the offer currently on the table likely would have been accepted by the union in September, before their bodies were beaten up and broken down by a full season of football.

The willingness to shrink the preseason isn’t regarded as much of an inducement, since veteran players already are playing less and less in the preseason. More reductions to the offseason program and training camp (which cost ownership nothing but which potentially undermine the quality of football early in the regular season) remain possible.

Logistically, the NFLPA Executive Committee must first decide whether to recommend the league’s current offer to the board of player representatives at the Thursday meeting. If the Executive Committee makes the recommendation, and if two-thirds of the player representatives accept the proposal, all dues-paying union members would then vote on the proposal (roughly 1,900 players) with a simple majority getting the deal done.

The biggest takeaway seems to be that there’s at least a firm proposal that union leadership deems worthy of discussing and potentially presenting to the board of player representatives. But there’s no guarantee that player reps or individual players, more cognizant than ever of the safety issues associated with football, will embrace a 17th game, regardless of the financial inducement made by the league.

45 responses to “CBA based on 17-game season suddenly in doubt

  1. Let them strike.the players are not happy as soon as the new one is signed so whatever. It would give me a year off from football to see what better options are out there in Sundays. Maybe I find I can live without it.

  2. I hope greed doesn’t overwhelm sense.

    The NFL is hypocritical to push for 17 games… concern about player safety my ass. They’re just a bunch of greedy billionaires…

  3. A league that just fined a player for pouring beer on his own head but neither penalized nor fined a player who concussed and knocked out of the game a QB by launching himself, helmet-first, into the helmet of a QB who was falling to the ground is not a league that cares about player safety.

  4. The season is long enough already. 4 preseason games are necessary with the last p.s. game being the last shot for a lot of players to make a squad. Leave it alone already.

  5. The best proposal would include 16 regular season games and an additional bye week for every team.

    Player safety: solved
    NFL greed: solved

    It would add intrigue and complexity to fantasy sports, too.

  6. The only “momentum” for a 17 game season comes from the owners and their representatives.
    The idea to add an extra bye to a 16 game season makes far more sense to me. Give players another chance to get healthy and you get better football..
    Preseason games may not be popular with some people, but plenty of border line players need them to show what they can do. Don’t want to watch, then don’t. Season ticket holders – get over it. If they cut the preseason they’ll just charge more for the rest. No way are the owners going to lose money on the deal.

  7. Outside of the owners nobody is in favor of 17 games. No players say they are for it and the only concession the owners have floated is the idea of cutting back the preseason which isn’t really an equal trade since most starters don’t play all of the preseason now. This is how NFL reporting always seems to go nowadays: Owners claim something to be true (17 games is going to happen, LA can support multiple teams, etc) and the press blindly parrots that until reality sets in and it becomes clear the owners were full of it from the start.

  8. The Analytical Kid says:

    January 27, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    Can’t imagine that there are a lot of players that want a 17th game either. Simple majority, meh, good luck.
    That really depends what’s offered in exchange. If for instance the NFL minimum salary per player is raised and the the cap floor is raised as well it would be fairly easy to get the majority as there are more players closer to the minimum then there are making 30 million a year.

  9. The game is already basically a war of attrition. Only the teams that are lucky enough to be healthy at the end of the year have a legitimate chance to win it all. An extra game will only make that more true. Like it or not modern sports is about the players/stars, not the teams. Fans feel connected with the players through social media in a way that was never possible before. I’m not sure the owners have woken up to that new reality when they push for these changes and think the players won’t have the guts to stand up for themselves.

  10. Each team should play a 15 game on a 17 week schedule giving them 2 bye weeks during the season. 8 home games and 7 away. This would help with players health specially seeing that a lot of the guys are getting hurt toward the end of the season. With that being said, Add two more teams to the playoffs. The two #1 seeds would be the only ones to get the first week off.

  11. Holdout on these greedy owners over more games for as long as it tackes. We don’t need more games. The season is fine just how it is. They already shoved TNF down everyone’s throats. They need to leave their cash cow alone before they kill it.

  12. 17 game regular season
    3 game pre-season. Each team plays one game at home, and one on the road. Third game is played in a neutral site (example, the Patriots and Giants play their annual pre-seaosn game in Hartford at UConn’s stadium)
    Game day rosters expanded from 53 to 59 players
    Add in one more bye week
    Teams playing on Thursday Night are both coming off of their bye weeks

  13. Still think this could be done easily. 2 game pre-season (a little game action for starters, plenty of time to see what you have in young guys/free agents). Add the 17th game, and a bye week (bye weeks have to be at least 6 weeks apart from each other)

    The league gets their 17th game, and more money

    The players get rid of 2 pre-season games, which are all risks for them, and while getting 1 game added, also get an extra week of rest

  14. harperj29 says:
    January 27, 2020 at 8:06 pm
    Each team should play a 15 game on a 17 week schedule giving them 2 bye weeks during the season. 8 home games and 7 away. This would help with players health specially seeing that a lot of the guys are getting hurt toward the end of the season. With that being said, Add two more teams to the playoffs. The two #1 seeds would be the only ones to get the first week off.


    Simple math says that it is impossible to have every team play 8 home games, while only playing 7 away games.

  15. 32 game regular season
    28 teams make the playoffs
    5 game early playoff series
    7 game series for the AFC and NFC Championships
    7 game Super Bowl series

    That should be enough money for the owners.

  16. D.Smith got the players a horrible deal the last time he negotiated the CBA, and all we’ve heard from the players since then was how the owners and the commissioner have to much power. Then the players decided to keep him around to negotiate this deal, so what makes anyone think this deal will be any different than the last one

  17. harperj29 says:
    January 27, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    Each team should play a 15 game on a 17 week schedule giving them 2 bye weeks during the season. 8 home games and 7 away.
    Math. It’s your friend.

  18. 3 preseason games, 16 week schedule 2 bye weeks, expand 2 playoff teams from each conference, old format elimination 1-8 2-7…..
    Eliminate the Super Bowl bye week And probowl game.

  19. People forget that an extra game with an extra bye might allow some players to come back from an injury before the start of the postseason. It’s also not fair to say reducing the preseason wouldn’t matter. A lot of teams rest there starters but not every team and every year guys do get hurt in these games. I’m not suggesting we have to have 17 games. I’m okay with it like it is, but all the hand wringing over it like the apocalypse is coming if this happens is laughable to me.

  20. These guys’ bodies can’t hold up for 17 weeks. This is one of those moves that initially will make the league more money, but the greater wear and tear on the players’ bodies, the increased injuries, and the loss of playing time by high-profile players will cost them. And every serious injury that occurs in that 17th week will be noted, not just by the players, but by the fans.

    The only way to make it a remotely viable proposition is to increase the roster size so there are more players to help cover some of those games, but of course increasing the roster sizes means less team revenue, which is what this is all about anyway.

  21. 8 home games and 7 away?

    I’d love to see an explanation about how you could accomplish that.

  22. I like the idea if expanding to 18 weeks, with 2 byes. Each team would get a bye in weeks 4-7, and again in weeks 10-13.
    4 weeks with byes in the early season, 4 weeks later in the season.

    That would give players the same 16-game scheduled, but the NFL would have an 18-week schedule. More games on TV, more revenue, no more play-time for the players, but more rest time for the players. Accomplishes everyone’s goals

  23. Exhibition NFL games are a HUGE ripoff for season ticket holders. You are forced to pay for the tickets to clearly sub-par “games” in which few teams actually care about winning, and you can’t sell the tickets because nobody wants to buy them. Hell – you can’t even give them away.

    End the exhibition season, period. Most teams already do joint practices/scrimmages. But get rid of the prohibition on contact. Players have forgotten how to tackle.

    College teams play zero exhibition games, and rarely scrimmage against other teams. Yet amazingly the first week of college football is usually very well-played, unlike the first week of the NFL.

    The Exhibition season is nothing but a cash grab for owners, who don’t pay players until the regular season starts.

  24. carloswlassiter says:
    January 27, 2020 at 6:58 pm
    Do you know a single fan who wants a 17th game? I don’t.

    Don’t get out much, eh?
    For the record, I don’t want 17.
    I want 18.

  25. I like the 16 games and 12 playoff teams. What I don’t like is the short season. The football season is basically 5 months long (regular season and playoffs). The other major sports are a least 2 months longer. Maybe an extra bye week or two would help – plus it would make for healthier teams in the postseason. Make the Super Bowl Presidents Day weekend.

  26. “Each team should play a 15 game on a 17 week schedule giving them 2 bye weeks during the season. 8 home games and 7 away.”

    Not sure how that’s possible, but if it is, then why not have all 15 as home games?

  27. Don’t need 17 games. Extend the season a week and add another bye week for all teams so they have two each season. With the Thursday games now a given, I think an extra week off would help the players immensely. Not to mention, the gamblers and fantasy players would love it.

  28. charger383 says:
    January 27, 2020 at 10:09 pm
    As a fan, I want a 17 or 18 game season, Why: First it won’t cost me anything and Second I like watching football on TV


    There are hidden costs.

    That Bud Light you are drinking may go up a penny a can because, as Budweiser buys ads for more games, the cost won’t be eaten by them but by consumers.

    Also, as the number of games goes up, so do the risks of ‘load management’ which means you are watching a poorer product with QBs that belong in the CFL.

    I do agree, watching football on TV has gotten so much better with our 60″ UHD flat screens and surround sound systems. No drunk fans next to you (unless you invite ‘that guy’).

  29. Making Billions isn’t enough for these guys. Each team has dozens of players on IR by the end of the season. Stop being so greedy. 16 games is enough. Like you need more.

  30. To those who gave me a thumbs down on the 2-Byes idea I’d love to know why? And what is your better idea?

  31. Leave the season as is, or even shrink it a game, but add a 2nd post-season tournament for the bottom 20 teams to play for draft position. Add at least one potentially meaningful game for all teams instead of one more game where most teams are playing for nothing.

  32. They can stretch the season out as long as they want by simply adding more bye weeks. 17 games sounds silly as half the league will get hosed a home game…. which could affect the standings. Unless they mandate every team play a neutral site game. Still, choosing the opponent is tricky because right now every team plays exactly 4games each against a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place team.

  33. A tournament for the bottom 20 for draft position?

    What is the incentive to win? Team would definitely try to lose.

    Or does the winner get better draft position? That would kind of defeat the idea of worse teams getting better draft positions and have hopes of getting better

  34. So, in the very first sentence you mention the gaining momentum (from whom?) of the additional game yet then say it remains a hard sell to the players?

    If the owners are the only ones that want it – I’m 100% against it because I know what the only thing is that they care about (hint – it’s not the players or fans)

  35. GettingNoRespect says:
    A tournament for the bottom 20 for draft position?

    What is the incentive to win?


    The better you do in said tournament, the better your pick. winner takes first pick. Ends “tanking” and the top draft pick would end up playing for more competent orgs out of the gate. Less competent orgs better improve in other ways if they ever hope to contend.

    I do understand this will never happen.

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