The push to an 18-game schedule is back in the NFL, and this time the owners are not pulling any punches.
“I’m not sure, talking to the coaches, that four preseason games [are] necessary anymore to get ready for a season, to evaluate players, to develop players,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday, beginning to lay the groundwork for trashing the preseason. “There are other ways of doing that. We’ve had a lot of discussion about, and I feel like what we should be doing is always of the highest quality –and I’m not sure preseason games meet that level right now.”
Are preseason games as good as regular season games? Absolutely not, but no one ever said they were supposed to be. Wins and losses, game-winning drives, creating new schemes are not part of the preseason schedule.
The preseason is about developing and recognizing talent in game situations — it serves a purpose even if that purpose is not as “sexy” as the regular season.
This is not about any of that though, it is about what it is always about: money. It’s also about two more weeks of monster regular season ratings and full stadiums.
The owners have one big problem in their way, the NFL Players Union. They can not institute an 18-game schedule without approval from the players, and they have consistently shot down that idea because of safety issues and, yes, because of money.
If the players are going to play more games, of course, they want more money. The owners would make more so why shouldn’t the players?
The players will also negotiate for more jobs though. Teams are already ravaged by injuries every year, and rosters will need to be bigger to accommodate two more games.
The league and union have already had some discussions about the new CBA with the old one still good through the 2020 season. Goodell called that the “best sign” of the two sides working something out.