July 12, 2019
The NFL's owners have reportedly re-upped a push for an 18-game season, with a new twist: players would only be allowed to play 16 games in a season.
The idea emerged in a recent collective bargaining session between the league and its players union, according to the Wall Street Journal.
It if sounds dumb, that's because it is dumb.
The 16-game limit for players is the owners' obvious response to the biggest, and most important, reason for pushback against an 18-game season: player safety and health. Two more games in a season means two more games in which players can be injured, which is doubly bad when you consider that more injuries happen later in the season, when players' bodies have worn down from repeated bludgeoning.
By proposing a 16-game limit, the owners can point to the idea and, in a vacuum, say they're taking player safety and health seriously. They are, of course, not, but they can say it.
The other piece of the football world that owners need to keep happy, though, is the legion of fans. Plenty of people have pointed out that paying for a football game in which a team's stars won't be playing (you know, like the preseason) doesn't exactly make sense.
Can you imagine choosing one game out of a season to drop big money on Eagles tickets, and then when the team's inactives are announced at 11:30 a.m., a healthy Carson Wentz isn't playing?
Alternatively, there's this scenario:
That's dumb. Imagine your team is tied for a wildcard spot with one game left, and you can't start your star quarterback because he was healthy and play every game that year.— Keith A. (@Keith_A31) July 12, 2019
Also bad! No matter how you slice it, this is just a bad idea!
Unsurprisingly, this very bad idea is unpopular all over the internet:
So take 2 preseason games and make them count? No thanks— Brandon Gooley (@bgooley26) July 12, 2019
Lunacy. Imagine you save up enough to take the family to one Patriots game a year and it’s one Brady isn’t allowed to play. The 18-game crap has to stop. https://t.co/d7Mg3yJtkE— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) July 12, 2019
may be the worst idea ive ever heard— Steve (@seimicke23) July 12, 2019
As a fan, you pay $200 to go to a game and then find out your 3 superstar players are sitting out? I'd be ticked off. They already rip off fans in exhibition games.— TurtlePower88 (@sstaedtler98) July 12, 2019
Only in favor of an 18 game NFL season if the extra two games are played in those padded sumo fat suits they have at the fair— BUM CHILLUPS (@edsbs) July 12, 2019
Nothing is worse than paying to go to a game and finding out the stars are just ‘sitting out’ for no reason.— Tyler Vitullo (@TylerVitullo) July 12, 2019
It’s an awful idea. Just leave the game alone.— tommy silverstein (@tjs46) July 12, 2019
There are NFL teams who use their timeouts worse than most Madden players and now we’re gonna ask them to figure out which two games they should sit their starting QB for? https://t.co/1fuj7QsIio— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) July 12, 2019
The NFL needs to stop making this 18 game season thing happen. It's never going to happen. pic.twitter.com/e2xWCrsiTB— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) July 12, 2019
The 18-game season idea needs to go away, but it won't because owners are greedy. The best thing that fans and players can do is continue to push back.