Hello all and thank you for taking time to read this post. I wrote a post a little while back for a discussion of an 18 game season something the Commissioner of the league has been wanting and discussing for awhile now. I figured this would be a nice break from all the current discussions about the draft and off field issues that have risen over the past few weeks.
After hearing from the owners meeting about wanting to move the trade deadline back to week 8 and increasing the offseason and preseason roster sizes from 80-90 it really got me thinking how that could benefit a 18 game season, I’d like to tweak and re introduce a proposal of how to extend 18 games for the season and why these specific new tweaks they are presenting to the committee can help set the stage for 18 game era.
Most of the discussions about the 18 game schedules are how are they going to make it work? And what’s the risk in player safety? For the player safety portion players have already stated that it would take an extra bye week and expanded rosters even to consider and I’m sure that’s just the start of that negotiation. This is where it really comes down to as well is the player interest to put their bodies through the extra 2 games. One of the concerns is the preseason in which the games would more than likely get borrowed from. Most coaches would probably want 3 as 2 would not be enough to get a good evaluation of talent and it’s the 3rd game that starters usually play more snaps during the preseason. These are just a few examples but for most part they are the main focus of how to make it happen and work for all.
The Proposal: this is the gist dont worry about reading past this unless you wonder how I believe it would work ...
2 preseason games- 17 regular season games – 2 extra teams in the playoffs- trade deadline week 7 or 8- If London game continues wk 8 or 9 – all bye weeks week 8 and 9 alternating 16 teams 8 from each conference and a bye week before playoffs begin– pro bowl after SB should it still be played (this is the most basic example of what I’m about to discuss for those interested in how I got to this continue reading)
First is shortening the preseason which coaches won’t approve of too much but the first game of the regular season would still be the 3rd game when the starters usually play more time anyways now they ll just play the whole game. However this would seem to limit talent evaluation but there’s a couple of ways you can fix this. The first thing is part of the expanded rosters going up to the 2nd week of the regular season as each week more cuts happen as they have to trim the rosters to final roster size. Making week 2 as the week the final roster is set. Same rules on trimming roster up to 2nd week basically as they use now for preseason before start of regular season. However if the schedule is longer for the actual season and post season then I would like to see the max roster for game day and to be on team roster expanded and for the practice squad to be increased as well by maybe 2 or 3 for each though Im sure players would lobby for a few more for game day. By increasing the Roster Size for game day and overall Team roster coaches wont have to hide players on PS as much either.
17 game Regular Season/Bye week/ London game/ trade deadline:
The Commissioner sees an 18 game but I don’t like that for the regular season. Feels like it would just draw the season out more than needs to be. Instead I am more in favor of a 17 game season not to mention it would make it more competitive for playoff spots. 9-9 if 18 games would be the .500 mark however at 17 game mark what would be considered a winning season would mean just that. 9-8 or 8-9 you would either consider you won that season or you lost. Now I do consider the tie so one could go 8-8-1. As far as the 1 extra game that’s played, how would you decide who gets a home game or who plays on road for that one game as it would offset the way the tie breakers are affected? Simply put based on if you made playoffs the previous year or not as it could be if you made it then your extra game is on the road and if you weren’t then you’re at home kind of for balance of competition giving the losing teams from the year before a 1 game home field advantage the next season. After that it’s just a tweak of how the Tie breaker works out specifically.
Move the Bye week for all teams to week 8 and 9. W/ the 17 game season those would be the mid points of the season and really put a new meaning on the second half of the season as teams make a push for the playoffs. This would also stop advantages of teams that have late season bye weeks. Taking 8 teams from each conference and alternating them on those weeks. Now the other big thing happening during these weeks could be the London game which should give the teams time to recover from the flight or any side effects of travel. I would even go as far as saying maybe part of that Thursday night package to show London games as the teams playing would have at least a week and a half before next game and plenty of time to recover fully. The trade deadline could be week 7 or 8 as its week 6 currently however Im leaning more towards week 7 as there could be a risk reward factor by making it before the bye weeks as well as right before the half way point of season. What this also does is any last minute trades done on that week allows teams and players to get more situated during the bye weeks as well. Considering players sometimes have to up and move on a whim I’m sure it can be tough those first couple of weeks even in personal life. This would also help trading probably happen more as teams try to re balance to try to turn around and make pushes if they could contend.
Now at first glance this would also not seem to favor something the players would agree to due in large part of that Bye week and not 2 in the actual season as asked however w/ it being right in the middle of season it also helps to negotiate that as they are essentially playing one more game to the regular season and the wear and tear wouldn’t be as much as 2 games added. However this is where the NFL can really please the fans as well as the players and that’s where we’ll go to next.
What’s one thing that players and fans all want to see? Their team wins the SB right. Unless you just love the sport and aren’t a fan of any team in particular then it only matters that you don’t want football to end anyhow and you just want to see good games.
Well this is where the 18th game that you borrowed from the preseason lays just waiting to be held, the playoffs. And it’s a payoff that can produce more money for the league the cities its played in as well as give “more” players the opportunity to get a shot at their team winning the Superbowl. They would also have more time to prepare and the League could hold fan based Playoff type events in the bye weeks to help promote and keep the interests for the fans. The approach is simple add 2 teams for each conference and give every team a bye week which is a trick in actuality as that’s the second bye week players would be asking for to play that 2nd game or 18th game however only 8 teams would actually be playing an extra game and teams already do play in the WC weekend as it is. This doesnt change the format of WC weekend except now all teams are playing and all teams are rested when they get there. How bad do players want a SB is the question? Over past few years there’s no real advantage to a team having a bye week and shouldn’t be one if there is when one can rest while another goes through WC weekend and now all teams rested makes it a fair advantage. This would make the playoffs even more exciting and open up 4 extra cities to extra income. Not to mention the cities hosting would be the top two teams from each conference anyways. This then becomes a win / win situation for everyone. This also helps solve the problem of teams that get in that shouldn’t (Seahawks) and teams that should be in that had winning records (Patriots Giants over past couple years as example) to be allowed in to compete because they earned it. While we are at it we are also going to change the rule about division winners w/ losing records getting a home game over a team that actually earned it. W/ 8 spots now in the playoffs, if the division winner has the worst record of the 8 they will be in the 8th seed for instance. Winning division still would get you in but it wouldn’t promise you a home game if you were low seeded. This makes seeding truly earned for the top 4 teams in each conference.
Thanks again if you took time to read all this it was long but I wanted to make sure I covered as much as possible. I hope to hear your thoughts on what you'd like to see personally or even if you want or mind an extended season.