Bidwill’s reference to fan surveys, safety and health data supporting 17 games was “anecdotal”

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In making the case that a 17th game won’t impact player health and safety, Cardinals chairman Michael Bidwill made a statement that caught my attention: “I think our fans would like more. We have surveyed our fans. The heath/safety data plays out that we can do 17 games and it’s not going to impact the safety and the health of the players.”

The first part — the notion of a fan survey supporting 17 games — stood out because a simple Twitter poll last week posted to the PFT account produced a stunning degree of opposition to the idea. The second part, regarding health/safety data supporting 17 games, triggered more natural curiosity regarding the genesis and content of that data.

So I posed a simple question both to the league and to the Cardinals: Can we get more detail on the survey and safety data mentioned by Michael Bidwill?

“It wasn’t any type of formal polling or data driven research but rather anecdotal feedback from Cardinals fans he interacted with at team events and functions,” Cardinals senior V.P. of media relations Mark Dalton told PFT via text message.

Added the NFL, via email from league spokesman Brian McCarthy: “The league and teams have spoken to fans over the years to get their thoughts about a wide range of topics, including changes to the season structure. Fans have been supportive of the idea.”

In other words, there’s been no formal survey of fans regarding 17 games. And there’s been specific no health and safety data supporting the idea that 17 games won’t impact the health and safety of NFL players.

That said, it’s undeniable that the NFL has made the game safer over the past decade. Which makes it easier to justify adding a 17th game. But the game becoming safer generally isn’t the same thing as the existence of health and safety data suggesting that another regular-season weekend won’t impact player health and safety.

Here’s the broader reality regarding the push for 17 games, words and phrases aside. The league wants it, and the league is going to get it.

But what about the actual surveys or polls from fans expressing a desire to stick with 16 games? The simple truth is that, while fans may prefer 16 games, they’re not going to quit watching football games if the number moves to 17.

Thus, the better question is whether the fans want 17 games or none? If we put it that way, they’ll take 17. Eventually the players will have to answer that same question, if the league wants 17 games badly enough to lock out the players in 2021. As a lockout inches toward impacting the revenue from games that would be canceled, the players will confront — individually and collectively — the question of 17 games or no games. And they, like the fans, will choose 17 over none.

Whether the league or any of its owners will ever be so blunt and candid doesn’t matter. This is precisely how it’s going to happen, and the league is banking on the implosion of the 1987 strike after a few weeks of replacement games and the termination of the 2011 lockout on the brink of players losing real money as clear and obvious evidence that, as push approaches shove, the players won’t tell the NFL to take their 17 games and shove it.

20 responses to “Bidwill’s reference to fan surveys, safety and health data supporting 17 games was “anecdotal”

  1. They should just add a 2nd bye week. They will get another week of TV money and push the season back so Super Bowl Sunday is Presidents Day weekend.

  2. The owner should but won’t consider what they are giving up to get this 17th game. They will shorten the preseason which doesn’t bother me but they will also shorten training camp. The product in September is already what the preseason used to be. With this the players will shorten training camp even more extending the time these teams really start to get in a groove during the regular season. To much of mediocre like play we see in September now will turn fans off over the years.

  3. Bidwell seems to be not so bright more like a dimwit and explains a lot, maybe Keim is a genius to him; there really is no other logic why keim is still the GM of that team.

  4. Just another example how money doesn’t reflect on an individual’s intelligence or character.

  5. Just make if two hand touch and then you can play all the games you want. It’s just not the same game that made billions so just ride the wave until everybody realizes it ain’t dangerous no more or worth the money

  6. If Michael was more worried about letting Pro Bowlers like Tyrann Mathieu walk away insulted, as opposed to worrying about a 17-game season every Cards fan I know opposes, he might be earning his keep.

  7. section731 says:
    February 13, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    They should just add a 2nd bye week. They will get another week of TV money and push the season back so Super Bowl Sunday is Presidents Day weekend.


    Great idea … the teams that are stuck with an early bye with the present system are hurting at the end of the season. If they make a playoff run the stretch the number of games without a break can be overwhelming.

    Having two bye weeks in the season would lead to better health and better competition between the teams.


  8. After the 17th game is added a team will start off 13-1 or 14-0 then rest their starters for 5 weeks until the divisional round. LOL OK

  9. I would much prefer 17 regular season and 2 preseason games. I hope they add another bye week too, so there would be only 30 Sundays a year without the NFL instead of the current 32. I enjoy the weekend much more when there are NFL regular season or playoff games going on.

  10. I’m a Cardinal fan… and love the Honey Badger but please stop with the “How could they let him walk away stuff..”

    The Cardinals signed him to a massive 62 Million dollar contract after 2016… of which he then barely was able to take the field for two seasons much less play like a star. He was awful.

    He then signed a 1 year deal with the Texans for far less than his Cardinals contract was…

    And THEN signed a big deal with the Chiefs.

  11. cakesw says:”I’m a Cardinal fan… and love the Honey Badger but please stop with the “How could they let him walk away stuff..”

    What BS. Tyrann was hurt and took a full year to return to form…that’s what happens when you have those kind of injuries. He had done it before.

    This time he had retained his form when he was told to take less money than he had been promised. The Cards bet he would never be the same player he had been, and they guessed wrong.

    BTW, exactly how did they upgrade the position with the HB gone…they didn’t, and have been struggling with their secondary ever since. Nice of you to choose to defend abject failure on the part of Kiem and the Cards.

    Andre Roberts, John “Smoke” Brown, you could be here all day defending the Cards’ idiotic moves…none of which resulted in better position players, but hopefully left more $$$ for another Bidwill summer home.

  12. I don’t like the imbalance if you are going to have 17 you may as well have 18 so you have even home/away for each team. Preseason is a bore, but isn’t really for the starters. What I think they are trying to do is have every team play a game out of the country (Mexico or England) each season; which I hate. London games typically suck. I like the 16 game season.

    My non-football thoughts. I hate how this website doesn’t allow me to comment with Apple products. I log on and go to the bottom of the page and no comment box. Why, is the comment box at the bottom of the page instead of the top? Scrolling down to the bottom of sometimes 200+ comments is a nuisance.

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