Dan Graziano of Fanhouse reported yesterday that the NFL is, at last, going to push to expand the regular season from 16 to 18 games.â†µ
This idea has been kicked around for many years; in typical corporate NFL-speak, they are calling this possible expansion an “enhanced season”, and it is part of the current collective bargaining negotiations with the NFLPA.â†µ
It’s likely good news for most NFL fans, who generally are forced to buy preseason games in order to keep their season tickets — usually, that means a pair of meaningless home games in sticky August weather. Instead, at least one of those games would mean something. Graziano, though, cautions:â†µ
Union head DeMaurice Smith and the players don’t necessarily oppose an expanded season outright. But if the NFL is determined to put one in place, the players want to make sure the league makes concessions to reflect its concerns — chiefly, the increased injury risk brought on by changing two preseason games in which players don’t play all four quarters at full intensity to regular-season games in which they do. So, while the league is likely to make its proposal for the expanded season today, the union is likely to counter with a proposal that addresses the issues from its end.â†µ
The problem for the union is that by resisting the idea of the expanded season, it’s almost certain to find itself on the unpopular end of an idea for which the football-crazed public is likely to go nuts (i.e., "MORE FOOTBALL!!!!). And as the CBA negotiations hinge at least in part on each side’s ability to win the public relations battle, the union fears that the expanded-season proposal will work to the owners’ advantage.â†µ
That should make today’s meeting interesting. As always, we await developments.