What are your thoughts on a 18-game schedule?
Stephen: As much as I’d love to watch another two regular season games every year, when it comes to the players’ safety, I don’t think an 18-game schedule would be a good idea. When looking at the Colts, Packers, and Seahawks and even to some degree the Patriots, you can see how big of an impact injuries have on a roster. The game is becoming increasingly violent despite the league’s attempts to get rid of helmet-to-helmet hits and unnecessary roughness. This is a tough call for me because there’s nothing I enjoy more than tuning on the NFL on Sundays, but when it comes to the safety of all the players in the league, I just can’t see how an 18-game schedule wouldn’t be a huge injury risk.
Derek: I think the owners have completely twisted the fans' words around with the proposed 18-game schedule. Season ticket holders don't like paying full-price for the two home preseason games each year. That doesn't mean that they want some of those games converted into additional regular season games. I love watching Patriots games and while two extra Sundays of football sounds like a great thing, I think it will come at a price. Two less preseason games means less time for coaches to evaluate talent. Then there's the fact that two extra games increases injury risk to key players and also dilutes the importance of the six division games. I just don't feel that the trade-off of improving the quality of two games at the expense of decreasing the quality of the other sixteen is one worth making.
Jason: As a football fan, I would love to see more meaningful games. As a Pats fan, I would hate the idea of more meaningful games. While the Pats have a deep roster, they also have a quarterback who is on the wrong side of 30 with a few recent surgeries under his belt. More meaningful games will mean more wear and tear on Brady's body, and the added punishment of an 18-game schedule could lead to him hang up the cleats a year or two earlier. I don't know about you, but I'm not ready for the post-Brady edition of the Pats anytime soon.
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@JasonT I think what we'll see happen is that the owners push for the 18-game schedule, with the thought that they'll basically keep all the revenue from the extra games to get their revenue number to where they want it.
The players generally seem happy with the current CBA and want to make as little changes as possible. In the end, I think they take a deal where they keep their current salary level, but end up playing two extra games basically for free.
In the end, unless a major change is made, the owners are going to want a bigger piece of the pie and give the players less. However, if you make the pie bigger, the owners can get a larger slice while the players keep what they already have. Ultimately, I see the players sucking it up and "working" for two extra weeks to keep their pay vs. losing all the money they would make in 2011 with a lockout.
@Bloguin You have to wonder how much the owners want the 18-game schedule as opposed to how much they want to use it as negotiating tool in CBA talks. I think they'd gladly give up the 18-game schedule in a heartbeat if they got players to agree to give up an extra billion dollars or so.
I honestly don't know a single person who is all-out in favor of the 18 game schedule. I mean, there is certainly some upside to having two more weeks to enjoy football, but I think everyone is well aware of the downsides that come along with it. The fact that the owners are pushing this as something the "fans" want, is ridiculous. It's something they want - two more games worth of revenue.