View Full Version : NFL players reject 18-game season as labor deadline nears

03-10-2011, 11:15 AM
NFL players reject 18-game season as labor deadline nears
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) The NFL players' union has ruled out the possibility of extending the regular season to 18 games as talks with the NFL and owners approach the next deadline with several issues still unresolved.

The parties were still negotiating a range of sticking points, including how to divide more than $9 billion in annual revenues, but the players' union insist one issue, the NFL's proposal to add two more games to the regular season, was off the table.

"First of all, the league has never presented a formal proposal for 18 games," the NFLPA's executive director DeMaurice Smith told Sports Illustrated on Thursday.

"But more importantly, it's something that our players don't want. Eighteen games is not in the best interest of our players' safety, so we're not doing it."

Smith had earlier told reporters the league had lowered their request for an extra $1 billion of annual revenues by $200 million, which owners said they needed to cover rising costs, but had not provided the union with enough financial details for them to seriously consider the proposal.

"Just to be absolutely clear, the information that was offered wasn't what we asked for," Smith said.

"And, according to our investment bankers and advisers, they told us that information would be meaningless in determining whether to write an $800 million check to the National Football League."

The NFL's lead negotiator Jeff Pash said the league was not opposed to sharing more information with the union and still hoped to reach a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement.

"Have we offered to provide more? Absolutely," Pash said. "And is it a subject that we're prepared to discuss? Absolutely."

The deadline for the negotiations was originally due to expire last week but was twice extended, to 11:59 pm Friday, raising hopes that a lockout and possible legal action could be avoided for America's most popular professional sport.

03-10-2011, 01:58 PM
Posturing by the NFLPA. Negotiating ploy only. They'll play 18 if they get what they want in return. IE; Keep the money close to the way it is, expanded rosters, changed IR rules, shortened OTA's, expanded medical and retirement programs.

03-10-2011, 07:59 PM
I don't think it's posturing at all. I haven't heard a single player say that 18 games was OK by them. If every member of your union is opposed to issue X, issue X is off the table, as Smith says it is.

I think the opposite is the case; I think 18 games was a pose by the league, which they figured they could retract later in exchange for concessions from the players. It makes a lot more sense that way, when you really think about it. Sixteen games is not only a perfectly-structured season, it's also clearly the physical max for today's player.