View Full Version : On the Steelers: An 18-game season could hurt a lot if you're a player

Galax Steeler
04-05-2009, 07:50 AM
The NFL is determined to kill its golden goose and apparently will stop at nothing to do so.

The latest evidence is the league's eagerness to extend the regular season to 18 games, which would push the Super Bowl into mid-February. The public reasons given, of course, are for the enjoyment and fairness of the "fans" but the real intent is to milk it for all the money it can get.

If they extend the regular season to 18 games they will shorten the exhibition season from four games to two. They'll get two more real games at the expense of two practice games. And since teams charge the same price for tickets to exhibition games as they do real games, fans should love it. And what's wrong with extending the season of the most popular sport in America? Not to mention, playoff games now will extend into television's February sweeps month. The networks -- and local TV stations that have programs and pepper local news around football -- can't wait (although there is a disadvantage for local TV stations, such as KDKA, which make money producing and broadcasting most preseason games).

The networks will provide more money for the rights fees to the season. Thus, extending the season is really for the money, not the fans.

There's nothing wrong with making money; that's why they call it professionalfootball. But let's examine the downside of the 18-game schedule.

NFL owners approved more rules at their meetings last month to continue to promote player safety. That issue has been at the forefront of many rules, fines and emphasis by the league office for quite some time. Yet, extending the season by two more real games will put the players in more danger on many levels.

The reasoning by proponents of the expanded schedule is that they really are not expanding the schedule. They call it a 20-game schedule now, with 16 regular-season games and four exhibition games. All they are doing, they note, is making an adjustment by taking two exhibition games and turning them into regular-season games.

Again, that looks good on paper but starters play only a fraction of four preseason games. They play maybe two series in the first game, a little more in the second, a little more than half a game in the third and hardly at all in the fourth.

In an 18-game schedule, starters would play 18 full games. And with only two exhibition games to prepare for the bloated regular season, coaches will want to play their starters more often to get their team ready in the shorter preseason for the start of the regular season.

So, for the average starter who plays 16 games and perhaps one full preseason game, he now must play nearly 20 full games. Not only does that add to the players' risk -- think Ben Roethlisberger as a sack target for two or three more full games -- it adds to their wear and tear as the season drones on.

The reduced preseason also will limit the playing time of younger players and thus fewer chances to display their wares in game situations because starters will play deeper into them.

There's talk that the extended schedule would mean expanded rosters and perhaps even a developmental league for that very reason, because more players will be hurt. But if they expand the schedule to bring in more money, why would NFL owners want to dilute that by expanding their rosters? And the idea of a developmental league failed miserably with the collapse of NFL Europe.

There also remains the danger of more late-season games rendered meaningless as teams either run away with their division titles or fall hopelessly behind. What now has some teams playing two or three games at the end of the season that mean nothing could turn into four or five meaningless games -- with all the accompanying empty seats.

Dan Rooney always opposed attempts to lengthen the NFL schedule beyond 16 games. He believed that each NFL game holds a significance no other pro league can attach to one game. But now, he and Steelers president Art Rooney II are willing to compromise on the issue. The Rooneys favor a 17-game season because they sense the rising tide among their colleagues who favor an expanded schedule and want to limit the damage.

There remains one hope to prevent the expansion of the NFL's regular season -- the players. Any expansion of the regular season must be negotiated with the NFL Players Association. But the idea of more money in the players' pockets will provide an intoxicating reason for them to vote for it. And if they do, they then deserve what they get.


04-05-2009, 08:02 AM
Think back when heavyweight championship boxing matches were 15 rounds. Unless you got a first round KO there was lots of dancing until you got to the 10th or 12th.

Now 12 rounds makes lots of sense. Just like 16 regular season games.

Greater parity has made the season exciting for a majority of the teams and the entire league has been refined over the last 20 years adapting to 16 games, FA, etc..

What seems like simply changing the status of two pre-season games and making them count would have far reaching implications. On the positive side, Detroit may have actually won a game, but the torture of being a Lion, Bengal, or Brown fan would offset any positive gains. Sure, there would be more money, but at what cost? Don't fix something if it is working in the way the NFL has evolved.

04-05-2009, 08:07 AM
I hope they let teams add a few players to the roster so they can rotate players in and out a little more to prevent the increase in injuries that are bound to happen with two more games. They barely make through the season now as it is.

Cripes, I can't get anything done on Sundays during the season. I love my Steelers football and all...but it's nice when it's over and I can get back to my regular routine and get some things done at home and get back to my regular workout schedule. This is gonna be a killer................:chuckle:

On the other hand, it will make the winter seem to go by much faster.

04-05-2009, 09:37 AM
re-sign Byron Leftwich and Willie Parker.

Having depth at the QB and RB spots will be essential to winning a SB.

T&B fan
04-05-2009, 10:13 AM
I posted this a few times now but he has it right

this is what driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. said about Nascar adding more races ,

"What's happened is we have saturated the market with race after race after race," Earnhardt said at Texas. "The NFL, they do such a great job. I hate to keep comparing to them and using them as examples but they do the best job. They give you just enough to keep you wanting more. The season ends before you want it to. You get just enough to get excited and then it's all over and there's such a long wait. The model works."


04-05-2009, 10:17 AM
12 to 14 was fine. 14 to 16 was fine. 16 to 18 will also be fine.

Increase the roster though.

For all the teams that "run away" with their division, there will be just as many tight battles for playoff spots created by an extra 2 games. Just look at last year and picture how many of the 6 seeds in each Conference would remain up for grabs. Plus the scheduling will work out better.

04-05-2009, 11:47 AM
16 games is fine with me.

04-05-2009, 12:12 PM
I would be for 18 games, if there are two breaks in teh schedule and not one.

That way, each team can be rested twice. it only seems fair. Start the season two weeks earlier, let it run a week later, then play the SB ONE week after the AFCCG.

Also enlarge the team. . . add 7 more players to each squad, and enlarge the practice squad, without the rules for how many games can be played before a player cannot be sent to the PS. However, give the player the chance to reject the demotion and go FA if they are put on the PS after starting so many games.

04-05-2009, 12:16 PM
I'm convinced that Mr. Goodell just wants the players/teams he dislikes the most to suffer more injuries. I guess he gets pleasure in seeing Ben getting sacked 10 times in a game while doing whatever he can to protect Tom Brady from getting hurt again. :noidea:

04-05-2009, 12:22 PM
i think that if they increase the reg season.. that they will try and push more teams being allowed to play in the post-season...

if it ain't broke don't fix it

04-05-2009, 12:48 PM
The fact that it's motivated by such blatant greed makes it hard for me to get behind this at all.

04-05-2009, 12:58 PM
Blatant greed?

What the hell do you think they play the first 16 games for - charity?

04-05-2009, 02:40 PM
As much as I love football 16 regular season games is fine with me. The system is perfect right now. Leave it alone.

04-05-2009, 08:41 PM
I can't help but get that "Alright! Two more games I can watch the Steelers!" feeling. But overall, I'm still thinking over what I'd like best, and what's best for the league and players. My final opinion has yet to be made.

04-05-2009, 10:45 PM
Fact is, if they change the season, the coaches will adjust. Sure, there will be a couple years of more injuries. But in the long run, it will settle out.

Galax Steeler
04-06-2009, 05:36 AM
I like the 16 games but if they go 18 it wouldn't bother me either.

04-06-2009, 10:11 AM
OK, go with Rooney, split the difference, and let's do 17 games, with 3 exhibitions.

04-06-2009, 11:00 AM
I can see 17, but only if they get aggressive expanding the number of neutral site games. England (couple sites), Germany, LA, Hawaii, Alaska, etc. They'd need 16 games on neutral sites to keep the home/away schedule even.

Schedules could work out if they add in the same-ranked team from a division in the opposite conference. Most likely the division they played two years earlier (and will play two years later).

04-06-2009, 11:10 AM
in addition to a longer season the players would want more money b/c they are playing 2 more important games..

04-06-2009, 11:56 AM
Blatant greed?

What the hell do you think they play the first 16 games for - charity?

OK, you're right. We might as well just play no games and then everyone would be happy.

But seriously, does this not strike you as an attempt to squeeze every last cent out of an already maxed-out schedule? They're just pushing the limits of what you can do and how much the players can physically take, if you ask me. Are they going to raise the salary cap 15% and increase retirement/disability programs as a result of this? Probably not.

04-06-2009, 01:34 PM
It goes without saying that a 12.5% salary bump would go along with the change - that's why I don't think you'll get too much resistance by the players. In fact, that bump that would accompany the new schedule and new CBA - may just be a little extra incentive management is hoping to soften the players' resolve heading into negotiations. :)

Retirement is a separate issue. Although, I don't think you'd find many people outside the NFL who don't believe that there should be a radical decrease in rookie salaries - along with a radical increase in retirement benefits for the NFL.

And if you look at the injury reports, and career longevity - I think it is safe to say that we have already exceeded what we can expect players to take physically. We could probably stand larger rosters as it is.

04-08-2009, 06:19 AM
If it means a longer football season I'm for it, the players get what 60% of teams profit so they shouldn't mind because it means more money for them the top stars that is. Also how many players get hurt in pre-season when games don't count? If I was a player I would if I got hurt have it be in a game that counted then a game that didn't count.

Also rookies don't play much in their first season anyway. Plus a longer season helps slow starting teams, a team can lose a couple more games in the beginning of the season and come back strong and still make the playoffs.

Also a longer season brings more into play coaching and team concept because you would have to rotate players more to keep them fresh at the end of the season.

A longer season might bring down the bidding war on free agents and the pay of first round draft picks when owners, front offices, and starting players see that your team needs more depth in talent so your team can make it to and win playoff games, and make the trip to a Superbowl.

Why pay 14 million for one talented defensive tackle to play one position on a team when a team needs two talented defensive tackles to play that some position in a longer season so there won't be that big of a drop off in qualitiy of play at the end of a longer season.

A longer season might hurt more the owner that wants to stack his team high price free agents to try to win a Superbowl. And help a team like the Steelers who like to draft their talented players to win the Superbowl. And help the Steelers from losing some qualitiy players in bidding war for free agents, so they can keep more of their qualitiy players and use the draft to expand the talent and qualitiy of their team.Instead of having to use the draft to fill holes year after year.

Which the owners mean by being better for the fans instead of saying we are trying to cut the of high price salaries of free agent (and trying to break down some of the the agents these players sign with. remember us fans are paying their salaries too) and first round draft picks and are trying to spread the wealth among all players.

I'm for trying to cut down the movement of players just for the money, but still let the players move on if they don't want to play for a certain team anymore.

I still long for the day when your favorite player would play most of his years on your favorite team.


04-08-2009, 08:35 AM
Making the season 18 games sounds great but my concern would be more injuries to players and less time to see what your rookies or developmental players can do in preseason. We will not see more games just 2 more added to the regular season and preseason reduced by 2 games.

For now I say keep it at 16.