Wednesday, September 01, 2010

What to make of an 18-game schedule

I've heard the pros and cons from various parties.  I know there's a lot at stake here.  One of the key issues is that people just aren't turning out for the preseason games.  While they may have to buy the tickets as a part of the season ticket package, its clear that they're still not showing up which means less revenue from concessions, parking, number of eyeballs seeing all the in-stadium ads, and the like.  So, Goodell correctly assess that "the fans have spoken" and that would be with their wallets.

The owners want to make more money and are in favor of expanding the number of games.  The players realize it means more wear and tear on them.

And interestingly, Goodell has said he won't start the NFL season before labor day; and the only logical conclusion is that the SuperBowl would have to be around President's Day Weekend (mid Feb)  - an idea I heard from one NFL executive.

So, here's what I would consider:

* Expand the roster of players to at least 65 players, thus making up for more wear and tear
* Change the injury rules to be more like baseball's DL, where a player is unavailable for a finite amount of time, with limits.  So maybe you can have one player who can miss 4 weeks; two can miss 6 weeks, and 4 can miss 8 weeks.  And in the time they're inactive, you can sign someone to take the roster spot.
* Give each team two byes, so the schedule is 20 weeks.  Spread them in a way, so that maybe half the teams get week 7 & 14, and the others get weeks 6 & 13, so there's no clear advantage to anyone and you have football every week.

And here's where I think things get interesting.  You have your two "scrimmages" (a/k/a preseason games) to tune up the team.  But the first two games of the season can be used to do some evaluation as well.  You allow for a larger roster with a cutdown before week 3.  Teams might want to play some of these guys in the games, and I would wager that some coaches might develop a strategy to play more of the younger guys in these first couple of games to prevent injuries.  The games still count, but coaches have to make smart choices about how deep to play some players with an eye on winning.   And if they did play some of their vets later, it may cost them later in the season.

That's my two cents.  It would make for a better product, certainly.


  1. Anonymous11:42 AM

    They should cut preseason games to two and keep the 16 week schedule. Either that or don't change a thing. An 18 week schedule is a terrible idea. Who cares if no one comes to preseason games. Lower your darn ticket prices if thats the case. This is like cutting off the head to save the body. An absolutely terrible idea.

  2. Anonymous12:13 PM

    the last full paragraph and sentence (basically a bunch of justification as to how/why a partially inferior product can not only work, but be better?)is all I need to know this is a bad idea aimed strictly at making more money with blatant disregard to its many negatives.

    your bullets almost sound resigned to the fact that more injuries will happen, and seek to minimize the impact rather than prevent them (because they cannot be prevented, and ultimately the cumulative toll would be that much greater in the end even with these measures). I love to watch football, and in a vacuum, the idea of two extra weeks of real games sounds great, but the price is too high. I dont want more and more players with careers cut short, or a Super Bowl featuring the practice squads of two teams that were pretty great until bodies started dropping around the wildcard round.

    and please no double bye. I remember 1993, and there is a reason why they only did it once. The span of double thin weeks were pretty barren of interesting games. Though your proposal would end the bye stretch more quickly those 4, 8 game weeks would suffer a ratings hit that might not counteract the extra revenue of an extra week overall (see I catch on quick...attack the bottom line if you really want results)

  3. There are clearly no easy answers here. But great thoughts! Keep 'em coming.

  4. Anonymous3:12 PM

    More football that counts the better- I love 18 games. Up the number of players on the roster and cut preseason to 2 games. If your team is not ready to go after training camp, your bad! I like the idea of a small roster cut down after week three as well. Could make for some interesting trade scenarios, waiver wire pickups etc.

  5. Anonymous7:32 PM

    It all boils down to the owners want more money. there are 20 games with regular season and pre. the owners have 10 home games, so they want revenue for those games plus the tv revenue. if the problem is cutting 2 preseason games, than do it, stop talking about and do it, devide the cost of the 1 lost home game into the rest of the seasons tickets, say you have to buy 10 games at 100 a piece, thats 1000, so now you have 1 less preseason game but you will still pay 1000 for the 9 games at 111.11 a piece, nfl could charge more for the networks and they will follow what they say. the idea about not starting before labor day is a bunch of Crap, Gooddell is a BUM! im 32 I remember when football always started labor day weekend or the week before, and tevery team had 2 bye weeks, bring that back! are the networks really affraid that no one will watch kickoff weekend, if people do travel im sure where ever they go, they will watch the game they want to. Its a holiday weekend just like Christmas but they dont skip that week, theres always a game on that day as long as its not a tuesday or wednsday. keep the SB where it is along with the bye before the game, keep the pro bowl in Hawaii the week after the SB. Its obvious that the nfl isnt listnening to the fans or players, just the greedy owners. how about 2 more teams and another round of playoffs. i say dont mess with it at all for next year, really think about it listen to the fans and players, im against 18 games, records will be tainted youll have a 2000 yard rusher every other year or 2 in a year perhaps. passing records will go out the door. So i say keep 16 games the way it is, The only good that would come of 18 games is that the 72 fins record would probably never be broken

  6. On the topic of not starting before labor day: that was a staple until the late 1990s. The NFL always started a week or two before labor day - and the Dolphins used to own the best record at home in AUGUST and September!

  7. Anonymous8:42 PM

    yeah now from what i remember, they started later to avoid college opening day, again screw that! hello, were talking about thursday night kickoff, and sunday games, not saturday when college games start, but yeah yeah there are a few night games to when college starts, but you got bowl games going on during the regular season too!which really if your a fan of the team then youll stay up late but hello its still the middle of the week, Saturday night game would be better, and the game will allways be a rematch of the superbowl! how about that, not just the SB winner but both teams oh yeah! How about moving up the start of the season to MD August? trainging camp in June! AND TAKE YOUR STINKING LABOR DAY OFF! If the owners dont mind playing that weekend then gooddell will do it. that bum!