Will the NFL be switching to an 18-game regular season?
For a while now, the idea of an 18-game season has been discussed.
And that’s precisely what the NFL owners would want, cutting the preseason to three games and lengthening the regular season from 16 to 18 games.
But players aren’t in favor, and it has resulted in conflict.
The main reason the players would not want to play an 18-game season is the fact that it would make the whole season too long and unsafe. In fact, they threatened to walk away from the bargaining table if owners would pursue this topic.
It’s clear that an 18-game season will be a tough negotiation between the players and the league, and we are just at the beginning of the process, as the change could only take effect starting in 2021.
However, for the owners, the pros are numerous. Two extra regular season games could provide a significant revenue boost, especially in TV contracts.
More revenue for the league automatically means more money for the players under the salary cap system as well.
The NFL means business
And after all, the NFL means also business, like every sport, and that means big network TV contracts! The other arguments in favor of the regular season lengthening could be the increase of jobs for new players since the roster would have to be extended as well. That’s a plus for players and a good way for those who sign the checks to get what they want.
In order to get this 18-game season and convince the players, the owners seem willing to make concessions on the players’ discipline and the league’s marijuana policy.
However, the players talk about an issue of safety if the season is lengthened. For many years now, the NFL has been trying to focus on how the damages on the players’ brains, because of head trauma, must be decreased as much as possible. Many studies have been made over the past decade, studies that show how this beautiful sport can be dangerous and violent for their stars. So now what?
Because of a few million dollars in TV contracts, will the league put at stake their players’ health again, and make a major step back?
Would a longer season be so bad to watch though?
No doubt that if there is a demand for more football, the offer will get in there and the owners will have it their way.
Are more football and a longer season so bad for the fans? It could lead to more rivalries along the way to clinch a playoff berth but many more injuries as well. When you watch the end of a regular 16-game season, and you see how many players finish up without a scratch—the number is very low.
To sum up, between big money and health, which one will be more important? Sadly so, I have an idea about the outcome. Let’s hope the league, if this longer season happens in the next few years, will make it the right way to keep everybody safe.