I have recently heard a number of players, such as Hines Ward and Ray Lewis to name a couple, openly criticize the NFL’s newly proposed 18 game schedule. The two game increase may not seem like a lot but to NFL players, it’s a tremendous increase on an already grueling season. Player criticisms revolve around more player injuries due to the increase in games, thus compromising the overall product on the field.
The NFL owners, on the other hand, would love two more games and feel as if the extra games will benefit everyone involved. NFL owners understand that the fans want more football, on top of that, two extra games means more money for the owners, players and everyone in the organization. The current CBA went into effect for the 2006 season, and the owners exercised an opt-out clause in 2008 that makes the deal expire next March. According to the NFL, the average player salary rose from $1.5 million in 2005-the last year of the old deal-to $1.9 million in 2009 (Associated Press, 2010). This means the NFL owners must feel the players are getting more “love” than them and now they want a new CBA . It seemed to me like everyone is happy under this agreement but the owners proved otherwise by opting out (Cooper, 2010). Do the owners want more money? The head of the NFL’s negotiating team says it will be much easier to reach a new labor agreement with the players’ union if the accord includes an 18-game regular season (AP, 2010).
The question is, will an 18 game season help or hinder the league? I feel with 2 less pre-season games, the 2 extra regular season games will not be that much of a difference. Also, the league will expand rosters so teams can do more substitutions, etc. Injuries are a part of the game and will continue to happen whether it’s pre-season or other. The fans will love more football and I feel teams will have to determine whether to sit a player one week or what players to keep on an active roster. Bring on more football!