The NFL made headlines Wednesday when it was reported that a proposed collective bargaining agreement would alter the league's playoff format by adding a seventh qualifying team in each conference.
The extra playoff spot wasn't the only interesting change that could be adopted, though. In the proposal is a 17-game regular season and a three-game preseason. The current format, of course, has a 16-game regular season and four preseason games.
It's not a really tough decision for the owners. But the players? That's a different story.
The issue, of course, is not whether the owners will ratify the proposed CBA. They will, whether that happens today or at a different time. The issue is whether the players will ratify the proposed CBA with a 17-game season. Player reps are to speak Friday by conference call.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) February 20, 2020
Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who's now an NFL analyst on ESPN, perfectly summed up the dilemma facing the players with this 17-game season vote.
I’m a player. I know how short my career can be. I’d like to maximize financial gain. My vote is yes. - I’ve been in the league 10+ years. Financially set. My vote is no. - Two very different views. Vote will be fascinating. #17games #NFL— Tedy Bruschi (@TedyBruschi) February 20, 2020
It's going to be a very interesting vote for the players.
The average career for an NFL player is less than three years, per CNBC, making a 17th game check pretty valuable. The older players, many of whom have already made enough money to live comfortably for the rest of their lives, probably prefer to stick with the 16-game schedule because another game is another chance of suffering a career-ending injury. Injuries obviously are hard for older players to recover from.
Difficult votes that split the older and younger players of a union is nothing new, but it will be fascinating to see which way the NFL Players Association goes when it comes to how many regular season games will be played in the new CBA.