The NFL finally has managed to expand the season from 17 to 18 regular-season weekends, thanks to the addition of a 17th game. 49ers tight end George Kittle would like the league to expand to 19 regular-season weekends without adding games.
Appearing on Cold As Balls with Kevin Hart, Kittle made the case for two regular-season bye weeks.
“There’s a huge physical toll,” Kittle said, via Taylor Wirth of NBCSportsBayArea.com. “And like, 17 games is a lot. It’s a lot of games, with one bye, whether it’s Week Four or the bye is Week 11. I’m advocating for two byes.”
To deal with that physical toll, Kittle said that he spends a “couple hundred thousand” dollars per year on his body. Fortunately for him, he can afford it; he’s making $15 million per year.
The league experimented with two byes back in 1993. The networks didn’t like it, because it diluted the weekly slate of games. At the time, however, there were only 26 teams. There are now 32. Maybe it would be easier to pull off a second bye week.
It’s more likely at this point that the 19th weekend of the regular season would come from an 18th game, not from a second bye. Regardless, as legalized wagering continues to expand, the NFL will be looking both for more inventory and more stand-alone games. A second bye would indeed give the NFL more ways to have more games in more windows, without increasing the number of total games.