Lengthier NFL Season Could Be Too Much Of A Good Thing

  • Wednesday, June 16, 2010 8:25 PM
  • Written By: Steve Silver

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I never agree with Ray Lewis. In fact, doing the opposite of whatever he does is probably a very safe and legal way to live life.

Yet after reading about the “gaining momentum” behind adding two more regular-season games to the NFL schedule, I have to admit ol’ Ray is right in opposing this scheme.

In case you missed it, current Green Bay Packers president and my alma mater’s former athletic director Mark Murphy gushed to every major media outlet about the proposal to eliminate two preseason games and add two regular-season games starting in 2012.

First of all, let’s just hope there is football in 2012.

A lockout seems all but certain at this point in 2011 once the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires. Who knows how long that will last with such greedy and stubborn parties on both sides of the negotiating table.

Assuming the NFL continues without interruption, this is a horrendous plan.

The logic behind this, according to Murphy, is that preseason games are boring, meaningless and really of little value to players and coaches.

YES. We all agree on that.

But regular-season games are awesome and make a ton of money. So adding more of them is obviously beneficial to all.

WRONG.

In this case you can have too much of a good thing.

Surprisingly Lewis expressed his concerns well when he said, “I know our fans may not like preseason games and I don't like all of them, but swapping two preseason games for two end-of-season games -- when players already play hurt -- comes at a huge cost for the player and the team.”

In a perfect world we scrap all but maybe one preseason game. I do think two is a good number for now. Get one in for the practice squad players then have the next week be a true tune-up before the regular season.

Although I would love nothing more than the NFL lasting all 52 weeks of the year, I’m just not sure lengthening the regular season is the way to go.

Injuries, as Lewis pointed out, are of course always a concern.

It is certainly not the strongest opposition because football is a violent game. Nothing you can do about that no matter how long the season is. Certainly an increase in games would increase the likelihood of injury and make the playoffs a true test of iron will to get to the Super Bowl.

My main concern is devaluing what seems to be a near-perfect system now.

The NFL is the lifeblood of American sports because every week matters so much. Unfortunately we’ve already seen how the final few weeks can become just as meaningless as preseason games with starters on the bench and no real stake in the outcomes.

Don’t you think this would happen more often with 18 games?

Realistically, though, this change will probably be implemented in a few years.

The NFL is a cash cow and money rules all. This decision might be veiled in increasing competition and improving the product for fans, but it is really about the mighty dollar. By the way, when the NFL has to pay players more for a longer season, who do you really think is going to foot the bill? The owners? Ha, not a chance. Get ready for the already outrageous ticket, parking and beer prices to rise again.

To be fair, there are some positives to this plan.

Certainly more games to watch are a plus. Us fantasy geeks will have a longer season as well, which means more time for me to put off school work. And if the NFL keeps extending the season, the Super Bowl in New York might actually be above freezing.

Ideally, the NFL would shorten the preseason and leave the regular season alone. I guarantee this will not happen.

With two additional games to win, I think it is safe to say that the 1972 Dolphins can get the champagne ready for eternity.

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