Most NFL fans I’ve talked with, favor an expansion to 18 regular season
games. It’s a reaction that’s expected. Fans in Green Bay currently have to buy the preseason game because the Packers sell out every game. With a waiting list in the tens of thousands, they can force ticket holders to buy the home preseason games, or forfeit their right to the tickets.
Naturally, those ticket holders don’t want to lose the regular season privilege, so they pony up. If the NFL goes to 18 regular season games, fans will still be shelling out the same amount of money, but they’ll feel better about spending the average $63.00 price per ticket because the game means something.
The players are concerned about the extra two games and what it might mean long term for their health. They also have issues as to how long the off-season program is going to be. Will there be more time off? And what about the development time that reserve players are currently getting to work on their skill development, time that they won’t get if the preseason is reduced.
It’s a win-win for the owners because its more money in their pockets. They’ll no doubt spread the wealth with the players. And the fans get 2 more meaningful games.
Something that isn’t being talked about though are things like length of the season, competitive balance near the end of the regular season and more games for players to potentially get hurt in.
We already have an issue of teams that lock up their divisions and playoff spots and want to rest their players. What’s going to happen when two more games are added? Divisions could be clinched even sooner and the issue of competitive balance will come up faster. Fans don’t like paying for preseason tickets when the games don’t mean anything. What are Packers fans going to do in the middle of January when the Packers have the division clinched? What happens when below zero wind chill factors come into the picture and the Packers want to rest their top players, protecting them for the playoffs? Are you even going to the game?
Games won’t start until after Labor Day, so you’re making the season last longer. Many NFL fans don’t care about this one. But the NFL already crosses over into other sports, and that crossover will now be in effect even longer. The Super Bowl won’t be played until the middle of February at the earliest.
Is there such a thing as overkill? It seems many people don’t seem to think of that now. But when college basketball is in it’s stretch run, what’s considered one of the best times on the sports calendar, has to be shared with the NFL. In fact, the NFL season will carry on so long that pitchers and catchers will be getting ready to report to spring training.
This 18-game schedule will go through, there’s no doubt in my mind. But when is enough, enough? Why not play 26 regular season games, in effect, half of the calendar year? Then those rich owners could really rake in the dough.