The COMMISSIONER has mentioned again he might be jacking with the NFL schedule as we know it, and one day -- by maybe 2014? -- the four-pre, 16-reg, 12-team post. slate may be amended. This stuff matters a lot in NFL circles, which means I need to think it out and to have an opinion.
The parties about whom to be most concerned are owners, players and fans. To wit, at first blush I like the 18-game regular-season schedule with two preseason games and the playoffs as they are now. Teams gain two extra games of regular-season revenue, and fans never again can complain the preseason is too long and boring. They can't bitch about buying tickets to see BALTAZAR throw "nine routes" to ADAM THIELEN. With just two preseason games teams would have to giddy up to get squared away for the longer season.
That's part of the problem - not enough prep time for a longer regular season, and I'd be surprised if the NFLPA doesn't fight the extra two games due to the wear and tear on its players. For guys who play all the snaps (GREENWAY, SULLIVAN, KALIL, SMITH, LOADHOLT etc.) their bodies are mangled at the end of 16 regular-season games. The more games the more battered the bodies. The fewer the preseason games perhaps the more they'd need to play in August to hone the skills, dust off the cobwebs and develop timing with rookies and new teammates?
I like the postseason format the way it is and feel adding a couple of teams and two more games would oversaturate things a tad. Nearly one-half the league would make the playoffs and the urgency to win them all might not be the same. The chance to sneak into that last "Wildcard" and do some damage would be in play, and more 8-and-8 or 7-and-9 teams would be in play. I don't hate this idea but prefer it stay the same.
What about 16 regular-season games, two preseason games and the postseason format staying the same? I cannot see the owners agreeing to that because they scoop all the chips during the preseason given players don't get paid until week one.
Tough topic. Compromise will be needed. The thrill of two extra regular-season games would be cool but at what cost to the every-snap players? I think that's a fair take. Extra playoff games would be fun and good for the TV people, but I am not sure of the quality we would get. Other side of the bit is the 10-and-6 teams getting denied would receive a chance to make some memories.
How about 16 regular-season games and three preseason games? That would lessen the load on the players, keep fans from complaining and only cost the owners one game of revenue. I don't know, I thoroughly enjoy it the way it is, and the current format has made the NFL by far the most popular sports entiity in the land. I like the slow-burn lead up to the regular season and always have loved the preseason feel. I know that fourth preseason game doesn't solve much of the equation and the best players never play, but the kids trying to earn the $90k on the practice squad embrace the events, and that makes for some cool moments for harcore NFL Rubes like me.
Paul Allen Proudly Endorses: