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Packers president: 17-game season could facilitate more international play

With the NFL's desire to extend the regular season to 18 games still unapproved, Mark Murphy has spoken publicly about a 17-game expansion, which would avoid teams having to give up home games.

Although it was a much-discussed proposal a couple years ago, NFL executives have recently stayed relatively quiet about the possibility of lengthening the regular season. But Packers President Mark Murphy had something to say about the topic recently.

Asked about playing more games overseas, Murphy said one way to facilitate that could be expanding the regular season to 17 games, with each team playing eight games at home, eight on the road and one outside the United States.

“As you look ahead, if we’re going to have more and more international games, something’s got to give at some point,” Murphy said, via ESPN. “One thought that’s been discussed is to go to 17 [regular-season games] and three [preseason] and then everybody would have an international game. So nobody would have to give up a home game then.”

As we’ve noted when this proposal has come up before, NFL players have largely opposed the possibility of making the regular season longer, and the owners can’t expand the regular season without the approval of the NFL Players Association. With the NFL’s insistence that player safety is its top priority, it might be hard to justify exposing players to more hits and potentially more injuries.

However, if the NFL can convince the players that those international games are going to make a lot of money -- an influx of money that will result in a higher salary cap and more money in the players’ pockets -- it’s possible that the players could buy into Murphy’s proposal.