As NFL labour talks drag on, more and more “solutions” are emerging to the various sticking points of negotiations.
One of the NFL’s biggest desires is to extend the regular season to 18 games, possibly at the expense of two preseason games, in an effort to “improve the game for our fans.” (Read: make more money.)
The players, of course, are opposed to the idea of playing more games for less money, and also point to the added injury risk as a major concern.
Don Yee, Tom Brady’s agent, has suggested that the league create an 18-game regular season in which no player is allowed to participate in more than 16 of his team’s games. It’s a creative suggestion, but there’s no way it could ever work.
- The point of the 18-game regular season is to create a better overall product. By ensuring that back up players will be playing in at least two of the games, this proposal does the exact opposite.
- How the heck would rosters work? The current 53-man roster wouldn’t suffice. Yee proposes a 58-man squad, with everyone active on game day, but that sounds like it would quickly get complicated and result in game delays due to lineup changes. The easy solution is to say that rosters could just be expanded, but that wouldn’t exactly agree with the NFL’s quest to reduce team expenses.
- The proposal also does little to calm the players’ injury fears. Maybe the stars would get the benefit of sitting out practices on weeks when they don’t play, but most players would still have to commit to two more weeks of banging pads in preparation of games.
- In fact, practices in general would be a complete mess, as coaches adjust to expanded rosters with the added wrinkle of keeping players in rhythm.
- There would be lots of strategy involved with deciding which players should skip which games which create intrigue, but what happens if a player gets hurt? What if the Patriots sat Brady in the first week of the season, and then he missed the next three weeks with a concussion? That would make the whole strategy aspect of this pretty silly.
- It would be entertaining to see how teams would choose who should play when, but that would wreak havoc on fantasy rosters. Laugh if you must, but the NFL recognises that fantasy football is huge for its business, and wouldn’t want to anger its customers.
- What happens to ticket holders? Remember the outrage when paying customers were inconvenienced (at best) at the Super Bowl? Imagine how they’d react if they shelled out the several hundred dollars it takes to see an NFL game in person only to see a bunch of back ups. Granted, that does happen at the end of the regular season when teams rest their starters before the playoffs, but at least fans know that if they buy tickets to late season games, they’re taking a risk. This new system would be a crap shoot.
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