The NFL still wants to expand the amount of games played in the regular season as part of the next collective bargaining agreement, but an 18-game schedule doesn't appear to be in the cards.
Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic reported Thursday the latest idea from the owners:
The NFL has dropped a proposal for an 18-game season and is now focused on expanding the regular season to 17 games, ownership sources said. Owners were briefed on the change at committee meetings in Houston this week. The current schedule is 16 games.
“Not enough owners support (for) 18 and players would not go for it either,” one of the sources said of why the change. The 17-game proposal will be paired with a reduction in the preseason by a game or two from the current four.
This sounds like a good compromise.
Adding two extra games to the regular season was too much. The extra games increase the concern for player safety, and the playoffs would be far less enjoyable if star players weren't able to participate because the increased regular season schedule led to more injuries.
Reducing the preseason also is a great idea. The fourth preseason game offers little value to fans, and it's another opportunity for players to pick up injuries right before the regular season begins.
One potential hiccup with a 17-game season is you can't have an even split of home and road games. Unless each team plays a neutral site game, half the teams in the league will get nine home games and the other half will get eight each season.
The current CBA expires after the 2020 season, so there is plenty of time for the NFL and NFL Players' Association to reach a deal. The length of the regular season (and all of the changes that would accompany it) is sure to be among the most interesting facets of the negotiations.
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