NFL may shrink preseason, even without expanded regular season

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The NFL reportedly is considering implementing expanded playoffs without union consent, absent a new labor deal. That likely would not be permitted by federal labor law. A different potential power play from ownership would be permitted.

The NFL has the authority to reduce the preseason, even if the players reject the pending CBA proposal that calls for a three-game preseason and a 17-game regular season, as early as 2021.

The 2011 labor deal gives the league the right to shrink the preseason, at any time. And while the owners would be sacrificing revenue if they do it, the players would lose revenue as well. And that would impact the salary cap.

Of course, the league has had the right to reduce the preseason since 2011. And it has yet to do so. However, the threat of a reduced preseason always has been regarded as part of a broader plan to expand the regular season. With the league determined to grow the regular season and, in turn, to shrink the preseason, the possibility of throwing away a preseason game and the revenue that would go along with it becomes very real leverage at a time when the NFL hopes to get the union to agree to an extra regular-season game.

The league has yet to rattle the sword in this regard, at least not publicly. Privately, however, it should be regarded as a very real possibility — especially since more than a few owners (we’re told) want to play hardball with the players.

15 responses to “NFL may shrink preseason, even without expanded regular season

  1. Owners who want to play hardball with the players should realize they will also be playing hardball with the fans. If they don’t want the NFL fan demographics to follow the trajectory of actual hardball, they had better be damn careful who they play around with. Fantasy and gambling are the only reasons interest in the NFL hasn’t plummeted already.

  2. NFL Preseason >>>> any other Pro football leagues playoffs.

    It is what it is. Even the guys that make up the bench and practice squads in the NFL are more talented than a generic version of elite.

  3. Based on what players get paid per game in preseaon, a sold out Lambeau is a cash cow. I don’t see owners slicing revenues.

  4. Everyone blames ownership come on fans these players of today are in the mix of blaming as well. Both sides are so greedy and really they care less about the fans total or the fans for the team a particular player is on. The players as well as owners don’t care if the stadium is empty they count on TV and the big fantasies world and now we want throw gambling into the mix.. You pay all this money to unproven players and now you want to cut down practice in pads and preseason. The selfishness is a plenty in the players side.

  5. Can anybody answer this question 4 me? Do the players get paid their salary in the preseason? Or just 17 checks per yr.

  6. That would be smart.

    Nothing screams “Robber Baron League” more than forcing your consumers to pay top dollar for organized practices, just to be able to view the regular season games.
    As they say, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  7. From Sports Illustrated:

    NFL players are paid their yearly salaries on a weekly basis (aside from signing, roster and other bonuses) from the first game of the season through the last, including the team’s bye week. Team payments and contracts end, however, with the regular season. During the postseason, players are paid by the league through a designated postseason fund as opposed to being paid by their individual teams.

    A handful of players have postseason incentives worked into their contract from their team, but most only recieve on league pay. The NFL pays every player on the 53-man active roster an identical amount per postseason appearance and/or win regardless of impact or performance.

    Once NFL player contracts become irrelevant, here are the per-player payouts this year, per the CBA.

    Wild Card Round—Division Winner: $29,000
    Wild Card Team: $27,000
    Divisional Round: $29,000
    Conference Championship: $54,000
    Super Bowl Winner: $118,000
    Super Bowl Loser: $59,000

  8. Can anybody answer this question 4 me? Do the players get paid their salary in the preseason? Or just 17 checks per yr.

    Yes and no. Players get a negotiated annual salary in 17 installments “Game checks”. But they have to meet contractual obligations to get all that money, which include things like practices and pre-season. So, they don’t get a check for each week of the pre-season, but if they skip the game without team approval, they could lose money through fines or missed bonuses.
    Players who are signed but cut before the season starts do not go home completely empty-handed.

  9. They will shrink the preseason when I tell them to and not a moment before, you can be certain of that.

  10. It’s all just a big money grab from both sides anyway anymore! NFL football as we true fans know it is already dead. So just throw out some product that you can get the majority of the mindless public to pay for and carry on. Now get the hell of my lawn you young punks!

  11. While we’re at it…What about those london etc games…full price for a season ticket and you lose a home game?

  12. blahblah5528 says:
    “Fantasy and gambling are the only reasons interest in the NFL hasn’t plummeted already.”

    This MIGHT be true. But there truly is no factual basis to support the claim.
    Ive been watching the NFL my entire life and have never once gambled. I’m also in a fantasy league but do it for the friendship and we do not have any money involved in the league.

    The NFL is as popular as ever.

  13. If the NFL is going to cut back on preseason exhibition games,… they have to allow for more contact drills in training camp. Otherwise how are you going to fairly evaluate your prospects ? I’d like to see more contact in practice for the regular season too.

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