This idea has been kicked around plenty of times before, but Andrew Beaton at The Wall Street Journal says the NFL officially proposed the 18-game schedule during labor talks:
Imagine an 18-game NFL regular season… where the players can only play in 16 of the games. (In other words: The Patriots would have to pick two games a year when Tom Brady has to sit.)
Inside the billion-dollar issue from the NFL's labor talks: https://t.co/9Jia0nn1C1
— Andrew Beaton (@andrewlbeaton) July 12, 2019
Extending the NFL season? Yeah, great, I love it. I’ll never say no to more football. Cut down the preseason by two games and just go to 18 regular season matchups instead.
Problem is, that’s two more games in which players can get injured, and they’re already banged up a few weeks into the season as it is. Two more games per year = a shorter NFL career. I guess that’s the main reason for proposing that players would only be able to appear in 16 of the 18 games in that expanded schedule.
Does that mean we’d get two games of Nate Sudfeld? Two games of the punter taking a seat? Does Fletcher Cox sit against the Redskins, since they suck?
It’s very interesting from a tactical and strategic standpoint. You could also theoretically throw a second bye week in there if you wanted.
From a fan standpoint, like I said, I’ll take more games. But I do wonder what happens if you buy tickets to a game and the entire starting offense is given the day off. Would you be annoyed if you paid good money, then saw nothing but backups in a game that the coach decided to basically throw to be in compliance of the new rules? That’s a scenario that might pop up, similar to how people get annoyed with NBA stars sitting out.
I think the players would take a deal if they could bargain more money in return, or some other kind of benefits to make up for a possible increase in workload. And with the NFL getting two more weeks of regular season revenue, vs. preseason money, then they will definitely be able to meet those demands in collective bargaining.