Report: Owners debating whether to play two or three preseason games

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For years, the NFL justified a potential expansion of the regular season from 16 to 18 games by explaining that the preseason would be reduced from four games to two games, keeping the total number of games played at 20 per team — just like it was when the NFL played 14 regular-season games and six preseason games.

Now that the NFL has secured the ability to play 17 regular-season games, the question becomes whether to keep the total number of games at 20.

Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com reports that Commissioner Roger Goodell favors shrinking the preseason from four games to two. Some owners, including very influential ones like Robert Kraft of the Patriots, Jerry Jones of the Cowboys, John Mara of the Giants, and Art Rooney II of the Steelers, want three games.

The CBA allows the NFL to play up to three preseason games per team, in any year during which the regular season has 17 games. The question becomes whether teams will surrender the revenue from a third preseason game.

There’s a collective-bargaining component to this as well. Why voluntarily play two preseason games when the NFL has the right to stage three? That should be the carrot, frankly, to increasing the number of regular-season games to 18.

Maybe that’s where it all ends up, and maybe that’s where it needs to end up given the damage done by the pandemic. Eighteen and two, with at least 19 weeks of action and perhaps an effort to expand the number of windows, with maybe Sunday morning games, Monday doubleheaders, and prime-time games on Tuesday or Wednesday.

16 responses to “Report: Owners debating whether to play two or three preseason games

  1. I don’t know a single NFL season ticket holder who likes the exhibition preseason – mostly because most teams force you to pay for the preseason games to get the regular-season games.

    If the league wanted a win-win, go for two exhibition games, but play them all in non-NFL cities. Take the game to people who don’t have access to the NFL except via TV.

    Pittsburgh-Anybody in Morgantown WV?

    Dallas-Houston in Amarillo, or El Paso?

    Denver-Minnesota in Fargo?

    New Orleans-Miami in Birmingham?

    Tennessee-Atlanta in Chattanooga?

    Those games will sell out and generate a s*** ton of positive local PR buzz – plus help grow the fan base outside the primary markets. And season ticket holders are off the hook from having to pay for exhibition tickets they literally can’t give away.

    But that would mean thinking outside the box – something the NFL has never, ever done well. The owners would much rather fleece the flock they already have in hand. It’s AMAZING that a group of season ticket holders hasn’t launched a class action suit regarding being forced to pay top dollar to see non-roster players who will never get into am NFL game beyond Labor Day.

  2. “You keep cutting, you’ll lose purity and customers” ——- What “purity” is attributable to having starters and most backups watch 12 of the 16 quarters of the exhibition season from the sidelines?

  3. Of course 18 regular season games are on the way, gotta recoup so much lost money.

    18-2 over 5 months with 2 bye weeks, start the playoffs in February.

  4. Of course Kraft and Jerrah want 3. Two is plenty and like someone said above, having to pay full ticket price to these joke of games is robbery to season ticket holders. Ever since Jones came into the NFL, it’s always been about the almighty dollar!

  5. Those people who keep commenting on the preseason games being included in their season ticket cost….You do realize that the Owners can subtract those games and simply include the cost in the Regular Season, right?
    The Preseason is vital for the players and including them in the package is simply a means to make a little extra on a necessary program…not the other way around….now the in stadium food and beverage? That is extra.

  6. “Some owners, including very influential ones like Robert Kraft of the Patriots”…
    ————-

    Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler was an undrafted training camp walk-on. Without those four preseason games to showcase himself to Belichick, he would’ve been one of the first cuts.

    So the more likely reason is that Kraft LISTENED to his coach on the importance of preseason games – not for the starters, but for the 23-53 roster spots.

  7. kemp13 says: “I don’t know a single NFL season ticket holder who likes the exhibition preseason – mostly because most teams force you to pay for the preseason games to get the regular-season games.”
    ——————

    You can pay:
    a) $2,000 for 4 preseason and 16 regular season ticket package, or
    b) $2,000 for 0 preseason and 16 regular season ticket package…

    You’re delusional if you think an NFL team is going to lower season ticket prices just because they cut 1 or 2 preseason games.

  8. an extra pre-season game won’t help the tv ratings which have dropped significantly. I think some serious “belt tightening” will be required by the 32 teams and their players.

  9. I am nowhere near ready to sit shoulder to shoulder with a stranger… vaccine or no vaccine.
    My 10 season tickets went down to six last year and next year I’ll likely go to zero. That being said I love the idea above of playing preseason games in non NFL cities.

  10. I love the NFL and wait for it to start every year, but I don’t think I would be interested in over-saturation of games during the week.

    The occasional Tuesday or Wed game when something odd happens to cause it is fun, but Sunday MORNING (some people actually still attend Church) and Tuesday, Wednesday night in ADDITION to Thursday?

    I’m all for a longer season. That’s great IMHO. More weeks of the NFL means a longer season and more times to see my favorite team play.

    But I think the NFL is too smart to try making NFL games an every day experience. At least I HOPE they are.

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