Will the NFL push for 18 games in order to help offset pandemic losses?

Getty Images

Multiple sources say it hasn’t happened yet. Common sense says it inevitably will.

As the NFL braces for inevitable losses in game-day revenue from fans not attending games and the potential loss of TV revenue from canceled games, the league could eventually suggest to players an idea for rebuilding budgets broken by the pandemic: Expanding from 17 to 18 regular-season games.

Already, 17 games will be played in 2021. For each week lost in 2020 (if any), the easy solution would be to add weeks to future regular seasons by adding an 18th game. Even without lost games, the money lost from the absence of fans becomes a potential impetus for more games.

As one source put it, there’s “zero chance” the players will agree to an 18th game. But consider it from this perspective: If agreeing to 18 games in future years allows current players to avoid reduce revenue in 2020 or 2021, would current players shrug at the increased number of regular-season games?

Again, the league hasn’t raised it yet. As the league begins to identify potential strategies for recouping money lost in 2020, the easiest and most obvious option comes from playing more games, possibly as soon as 2022.

9 responses to “Will the NFL push for 18 games in order to help offset pandemic losses?

  1. “As one source put it, there’s “zero chance” the players will agree to an 18th game.”

    Please provide a name so we can question the validity of such a broad, generalization statement. Because I’m pretty sure every non-superstar (ie players 10-thru-53, practice squad guys, etc.) would LOVE a chance to earn an extra week’s paycheque.

    For a player in a league that the average NFL career is only 3.5 years, that’s potentially another $100k-$200k…

  2. A little perspective. Let’s say a player plays every snap for the offense or defense for their team. And let’s say, on average, their team has possession for 30 of the 60 playing minutes in each game.

    Over the course of the season, that hypothetical player plays 8 hours of actual football. If they’re a wild card that wins the Super Bowl, that’s 10 hours of actual playing time. Over the course of, at most, 5 months.

    Now I know a lot of work and preparation goes into playing the game. But when you look at literally how much game time makes up that wear & tear, and how much these guys get paid for it, I can’t help feeling that this “more than 16 games is just too much” is really overstated.

  3. The only way the players are going to accept an 18th game- when they haven’t even played a 17th Regular Season game yet- is if the owners offer a preseason schedule of 0 games until the end of time.

  4. The quality of games will be much lower at 18-per-season, due to a higher number of starters being injured.

  5. If we get anywhere close to 16 games it’ll be a minor miracle. I’m taking the Bill Belichick one-game-at-a-time approach, and I’ll be trilled if we actually start the season in 7 weeks.

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.