Expanded schedule

adambr2

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Since the topic of an expanded schedule came up in another thread, I thought it could be discussed here.

Hard to believe but the CBA is expiring in a few short years after 2020.

While an expanded schedule is likely to be on the table, some say the NFLPA will never be amenable to an expanded schedule. I tend to never say never on such things, as money motivates. Television ratings are on the decline and neither side is going to like it if profits and contracts follow suit.

With that said, the NFL needs to address player safety concerns and find more time off for players during the season. So here would be my proposal:

1) Cut the pre-season from 4-5 weeks to 3-4. Training camp opens the same time as always.

2) Regular season contains 17 games, with the additional odd game being a neutral field game that every team plays annually at London/Mexico City/etc against a rival team inside the conference, but outside your division. (This keeps uniformity for every team in final conference/division records).

3) Additonal bye week is built into the season. Regular season starts one week earlier than now and ends one week later.

4) Super Bowl continues to be played first weekend in February. Off week between conference championships and Super Bowl is eliminated.

5) Pro Bowl and all festivities are eliminated. Pro Bowlers are still named, but with no alternates.


This solves multiple problems with the current program and multiple benefits:

- The pre-season being shortened has long been a request of players.

- The neutral game will be extremely helpful in promoting the game outside the U.S. Every team will get the opportunity and thus fans outside the U.S will have the opportunity to see teams they never have. In addition, teams will no longer receive an unfair advantage with a road game that isn't really a road game, or a disadvantage of a home game that isn't really a home game.

- Obviously, this creates a 19 week schedule instead of the current 17, which is considerably more revenue for the league. The additional bye week more than makes up for the single additional game in the schedule in terms of rest and injury recovery.

- No one really cares about the Pro Bowl anyway, and with how watered down its become with any injured players or Super Bowl participants sitting out, eliminating the game helps keep Pro Bowl recognition to deserving recipients and not 2nd or 3rd alternates.

Fire away...
 

Poppa San

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I see the Vulcan mind meld took in regards to the 17 week schedule with the neutral site games. I've been a proponent of that scenario for years. I'd put the added bye week after that game. I still think the week off before the Super Bowl needs to remain as that ensures the teams to be as healthy as possible plus allow all the pregame hoopla. I could also see an expanded off season classroom / drill work for players on rookie contracts. Allow the QB school to return.
 

easyk83

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If anything we should reduce the schedule to 14 regular season games. More watered down football is not good for the sport.
 

RepStar15

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I think it’s very unlikely the NFLPA will agree to an extended schedule. It would be great for fans, but imagine your boss trying to tell you your losing a week of vacation time? Not going to be accepted with open arms by any means.
 

G0P4ckG0

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I think it’s very unlikely the NFLPA will agree to an extended schedule. It would be great for fans, but imagine your boss trying to tell you your losing a week of vacation time? Not going to be accepted with open arms by any means.
More games = more money = earlier retirement. Pretty sure most players would be ok with that. Plus it's not like an extended regular season would result in less vacation time. Just swap them with 1 or 2 preseason games that are already limiting vacation time.
 

RepStar15

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More games = more money = earlier retirement. Pretty sure most players would be ok with that. Plus it's not like an extended regular season would result in less vacation time. Just swap them with 1 or 2 preseason games that are already limiting vacation time.
The salary cap is increasing at a pretty fluid speed anyway. I think your overlooking the NFL Veterans here. Set aside the fact that They are the most primodonna athletes in the world. Preseason is a rest for most of them. Football is a dangerous and physical game. Why would they want to play another game for a couple thousand extra in their bank accounts. Again, personally as a fan, I’m all for it. More football equals more Sunday’s for me at the bar! I just think everyone is overlooking the reality of this situation from a player standpoint.
 

G0P4ckG0

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The salary cap is increasing at a pretty fluid speed anyway. I think your overlooking the NFL Veterans here. Set aside the fact that They are the most primodonna athletes in the world. Preseason is a rest for most of them. Football is a dangerous and physical game. Why would they want to play another game for a couple thousand extra in their bank accounts. Again, personally as a fan, I’m all for it. More football equals more Sunday’s for me at the bar! I just think everyone is overlooking the reality of this situation from a player standpoint.
Who says veterans would need to play more games under an extended scheduled? Aside from auto racing, every other sports team (minus NFL) rests their star players at some point during the season prior to clinching a playoff berth. An extended season would presumably result in larger rosters, more active players per game, and it would require more TEAM play rather than relying on star/veteran players to carry a team....which has been the bane of the NFL over the past 10+ years.

Even with the current schedule, star/veteran players are rarely playing in the preseason. That's a time to weed out the youngsters who aren't fit to be professional athletes. If an 18-game schedule comes to fruition I would be all for a mandatory 1 (or more) game inactive requirement for every player on the roster. Will it mess up starting streaks and such? Sure, but if you're a fan of a team and care more about individual streaks/records than championships, you are not a true fan of your team.

(Also...every player knows this is a dangerous game. If they can't handle the heat then they should get out of the kitchen. This sport is becoming increasingly wussified and that's a damn shame).
 

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I think it’s very unlikely the NFLPA will agree to an extended schedule. It would be great for fans, but imagine your boss trying to tell you your losing a week of vacation time? Not going to be accepted with open arms by any means.

If my boss was paying me seven figures, they could have had me working 52 weeks a year.
 
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4) Super Bowl continues to be played first weekend in February. Off week between conference championships and Super Bowl is eliminated.

You bring up some interesting points but I have to agree with Poppa that the off week before the Super Bowl should definitely stay.
 
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adambr2

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Getting rid of the week off before the Super Bowl is not a huge deal to me, I would be fine leaving it, it's just that it would push the Super Bowl out to almost mid February in some years under my scenario.

In previous years I know they did some years with the additional week off and some without, not sure off the top of my head how long it has been since they went without. I remember when 9-11 happened, one of the difficulties in cancelling a week of games was that they did not have the week off on the schedule before the Super Bowl to just bump the playoffs back a week. In the years they didn't have the week off, I never really noticed much of a difference. Maybe a little less media-centric Super Bowl would be a good thing.

I guess the way I see it is, most teams that win their conference championship have just had a week off two weeks prior, and the ones that didn't are riding a huge wave of momentum and probably don't want a week off.

But like I said, not a deal breaker for me either way.
 
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ARPackFan

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I agree with much of the original post but as has been pointed out player safety is going to only increase in scope and more games equals more exposure. Even in a 16 game schedule I could see the benefit of two bye weeks. In a 18 week schedule give all teams a bye in weeks 6 and 7 (half the league each week) and then do the same at weeks 13, 14. Going to 17 games is intriguing as the extra game should probably be played at a neutral site to give all teams an equal number of home games. That opens up other possibilities besides playing in other countries. There are a lot of college stadiums with enough capacity in states that don't have an NFL team. Just food for thought.
 

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I think that in the next agreement there will be a provision for Thursday night games. Players have been complaining alot about the time for recovery not being enough between Sunday and Thursday.
 

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eliminate 2 preseason games, keep the season 16 games, and eliminate thursday games (except thanksgiving). football runs too far into the next year delaying free agency and the draft. the super bowl occurring in february is ridiculous.
 

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Unless one comes up with something else to fill the time, all one does by moving free agency and the draft early is create an even longer dead zone until training camp.
 
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adambr2

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I think that in the next agreement there will be a provision for Thursday night games. Players have been complaining alot about the time for recovery not being enough between Sunday and Thursday.

I think the provision should be the 2 bye week system, where a team always has a bye prior to a Thursday game.
 
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adambr2

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eliminate 2 preseason games, keep the season 16 games, and eliminate thursday games (except thanksgiving). football runs too far into the next year delaying free agency and the draft. the super bowl occurring in february is ridiculous.

What's the good reason for rushing the season to be over with by mid-January? Is the current 6 week free agent period between the start of free agency and the draft really not enough?

The draft has always been in the late April timeframe give or take a week in the 16 game season era. Not sure what the issue is with that.
 

LambeauLombardi

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I'm fine with the current preseason or even if you want to cut it a game, but PLEEEEEASE discount the ticket prices so people may actually want to go to the games. Make it an atmosphere like baseball in spring training. Good weather while watching your favorite players for part of the game. If they don't play then you don't get screwed over paying for the same price as a regular season game.

Teams outside of US don't give a **** about the NFL. Football to them is futbol (soccer) to us. Also for selfish reasons I don't want a 17th game. It would annoy me just because I have always been use to 16 games (for sports arguments/conversations when comparing teams/players).
 
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adambr2

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So if you are scheduled to play Thurs night week 2, you get week one off?

No, just don't schedule Thursday night games until Week 4, with the exception of Week 1, and not after the 3rd to last week of the season (which I think they avoid now anyway).
 

gbgary

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What's the good reason for rushing the season to be over with by mid-January? Is the current 6 week free agent period between the start of free agency and the draft really not enough?

The draft has always been in the late April timeframe give or take a week in the 16 game season era. Not sure what the issue is with that.
fewer freezing-*** cold games for players and fans. the time between season end and draft is way too long. they're sitting on their hand for weeks waiting for the day to arrive. it's drawn out by the league purely for drama's sake.
 

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it's drawn out by the league purely for drama's sake.
Of course it is. Media attention draws eyeballs to sponsors ads. It is a business after all. With FA and the draft, the NFL found a way to fill the quiet time between the SB and training camp. Same way that MLB expanded the playoffs and the NBA has 2 1/2 months of playoffs. The NC2A pretended to not have a problem with no championship until enough sponsors pointed out the $$$$ they were not getting. If there is no clear cut champion via a playoff system, the media chatter is endless, which is free advertising. Now? the chatter pretty much ends when the final 4 are selected and is over after the final game. No debate will give UCF or OSU a national title. That ended when the 4 team playoff started.
 

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fewer freezing-*** cold games for players and fans. the time between season end and draft is way too long. they're sitting on their hand for weeks waiting for the day to arrive. it's drawn out by the league purely for drama's sake.

As before, if you shorten the dead period between the playoffs and the draft, you now have lengthened to time from the draft to training camp, right?
 

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