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Mike Ditka says “crazy” 18-game season idea is all about the money


Add Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka to the chorus of voices opposed to increasing the NFL’s regular season by two weeks.

“I’m not for an 18-game season,” Ditka said on ESPN’s Outside the Lines. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. And the only thing it’s about is money.”

Ditka was appearing on a panel discussing the suicide of his former player, Dave Duerson, and whether it could have been tied to depression stemming from brain damage suffered on the field. Ditka said that he can’t square NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s desire for two more regular season weeks with the league’s claims that it’s serious about player safety.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Ditka said. “You’re going to have to increase the roster, you’re going to have to account for injuries.”

Ditka said that if the NFL really needs to bring in more money through another weekend of NFL games, it might be able to add another round to the playoffs. But as a former player and former coach who has recently become an advocate for former players suffering from health problems, he’s firmly opposed to adding two more games to the regular season.

“If you want to increase the season, add a couple playoff teams, fine,” Ditka said. “I’m just telling you right now, if they think 18 games is the answer, they’re crazy.”