The NFL owners clearly want an 18-game regular season, but their latest proposal just has too many holes.
The biggest headline to come out of the owners’ newest framework for an extended season was the “scheduled weeks off,” and the idea was that players could only play in 16 games and be forced to take two weeks off.
There are so many things wrong with this, but it feels best to start with the obvious: injury.
Teams could send out their starting quarterback while resting their blindside protector. They could put out their second string of defensive linemen while leaving their key members of the secondary in to get torched and run ragged. The risk of injury is already astronomical in the NFL: forcing players to rest games essentially ensures the likelihood that injuries can only increase.
While the two weeks off sounds good in theory, not everyone can rest at once. So someone is always going to get left out to dry, whether they like it or not. There is also the problem of how the teams will use these breaks. Will they take the last two weeks off the season, with the division in hand? Will they use them early and use the first two games of the season as an extended training camp, essentially waving the white flag early and putting themselves in an immediate hole?
And how will the roster be affected? Will they increase? They almost have to by necessity; there simply aren’t enough players to be able to cover those who would have the game off if the full roster stayed at 53.
Finally, there is the problem of the TV deals. No one but the diehard fans of their respective teams would watch a Week 7 matchup between the Cardinals and Patriots. But what if Kyler Murray, David Johnson, and Tom Brady had to take the week off? CBS, FOX, or NBC would lose massive amounts of money that the extra two games wouldn’t be able to match. In fact, it might turn viewers away from more of the season if they knew that their team might be sending out the equivalent of the CFL squad sometimes against a hulking NFL front.
This idea is flawed beyond belief.
It’s no wonder the NFLPA quickly decried it.
The league will have a lot to work on in order to ever make this palatable to the TV companies, the players, and the fans.