Blog Entry

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Posted on: June 6, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 2:40 pm
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Last week, for the first time, we saw real progress in this NFL labor mess. There's still a long way to go but it's something. With the possibility of losing games -- or worse, canceling the season -- we'll take it.

A lot can happen between now and an eventual resolution, which means the league needs contingency plans. According to SportsBusiness Journal's Daniel Kaplan, that includes planning for a shortened NFL season, even one that includes as few as eight games.

Mike Florio of writes that "An eight-game season would begin in late November, with a whopping five weeks allowed for free agency, training camps, and maybe a single preseason game. This would require a deal to be reached in October."

One of the concerns about players and owners finding common ground and ending the lockout is that the timing could throw free agency and training camp schedules out of whack. Five weeks isn't much time to cram it all in, but this sounds like an End of Days, worst-case scenario where the only other alternative is forget about the 2011 season altogether and start over in 2012.

As Florio points out, the 1982 strike-shortened season was nine games and 16 of the then-28 teams made the playoffs. That it has happened before is hardly a reason for the two sides to drag their feet on getting a deal done tout suite.

For fun, we took a look back to Week 9 of the previous five NFL seasons. Not every team had played eight games up to that point, but it serves as a proxy for our purposes here. Namely: to see how many teams were atop the standings at the midway point of the season and ended up in the playoffs. Because one argument against the shortened season (other than it takes away from the entirety of the NFL experience that stretches from September to February) is that teams can get on a two-month hot streak and win a Super Bowl. It's the cousin to Billy Beane's theory for why the Moneyball approach to winning baseball games goes out the window in the posteason.

Anyway, to the time machine:

2006, Week 9 ('*' means team made playoffs)

7-0: Bears*, Colts*
6-1: Patriots*
5-2: Giants*, Chargers*, Broncos, Falcons, Ravens*, Saints*
4-3: Bengals, Cowboys*, Jaguars, Seahawks*, Chiefs*

Colts defeated Bears in Super Bowl

2007, Week 9

8-0: Patriots*
7-0: Colts*
6-1: Cowboys*, Packers*
6-2: Giants*
5-2: Steelers*, Jaguars*, Titans*, Lions
4-3: Chargers*, Chiefs, Seahawks*, Browns, Ravens, Redskins*, Panthers

Giants defeated Patriots in Super Bowl

2008, Week 9
7-0: Titans*
6-1: Giants*
6-2: Panthers*, Redskins
5-2: Steelers*, Bills, Patriots
5-3: Cowboys, Bucs
4-3: Eagles*, Packers, Bears, Cards*, Ravens, Broncos, Falcons*, Jets

Steelers defeated Cards in Super Bowl

2009, Week 9
7-0: Saints*, Colts*
7-1: Vikings*
6-1: Broncos
5-2: Patriots*, Bengals*, Steelers, Cowboys*, Eagles*
5-3: Texans, Giants
4-3: Ravens*, Falcons, Packers*, Cards*, Chargers*, Bears,

Saints defeated Colts in Super Bowl

2010, Week 9
6-1: Patriots*
5-2: Ravens*, Steelers*, Jets*, Colts*, Falcons*, Giants, Chiefs*, Bucs
5-3: Packers*, Titans, Saints*
4-3: Eagles*, Texans, Dolphins, Bears*, Seahawks*

Packers defeated Steelers in Super Bowl

The takeaway? For the most part, clubs playing well midway through the season usually end up in the playoffs. Specifically, since 2006, 62 percent of teams above .500 through Week 9 qualified for the postseason, and that includes every Super Bowl participant over that period.

So while nobody wants an eight-game NFL season, recent history suggests it won't have much of an impact on the eventual champion. But that's no reason to drag things out. The sooner the lockout ends, the better for everybody.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: June 7, 2011 6:38 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Haveing worked on Giant/Jet stadium for almost two years in the bitter cold and extremely hot summer days, I can honestly say I've worked harder then those NFL players who play on that field every Sunday ever will in their entire life.  Yet I was one of the millions of hard working Americans who was given a layoff of many months(8) only to struggle to pay even the utilities for my family.  And seeing them squabble over billions of dollars and taking the joy and anticipation of another NFL season go down the drain with no mention of the fans really burns me up.  Without their athletic ability(which many go undrafted and never discovered), chances are most of them would be in the job market only to find out the reality that there is hardly any jobs currently out there.  I have already cancelled my NFL Ticket with Direct TV and will not spend any money on their merchandise from now on.  This has truely left me and millions of other fans bitter towards the NFL and I personally think the best days are behind them now.  It has also turned into a circus with grown men acting like gangsters, pediphilers, murderers, and all types of criminals imaginable.  We are inundated with the media attention on a daily basis of this via radio, TV, newspapers and internet.  Enough is enough.  Greed has ruined many nations, businesses, people, and our enviroment.  Good luck NFL on being that needle in the haystack that defies the odds. 

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: June 7, 2011 3:45 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Eight-game season?  Hope everyone's brushing up on the ol' tiebreak rules--especially of the three-team and four-team variety.  It'll be especially interesting because many of the teams in the same division will have played each other only once, or will have had an unequal number of games within the division, etc.  Will virtual ties count (e.g., 3-2 in the division v. 2-1)?  Or, say one undefeated conference record versus another (e.g., 5-0 v. 6-0)?  Usually we don't run into that kind of thing too much in the NFL, but we may very well here.  Can't wait!

Since: Oct 21, 2007
Posted on: June 7, 2011 2:00 pm


C'mon people cut the nonsense.  If you are a football fan you will watch the games.  Stop this nonsense of trying to look like a martyr by saying you won't.  8 game season, 16 game season or 18 game season, you will watch your favorite team.  If you are a fantasy player you will play fantasy.  If you watched the Super Bowl before, you will watch it next time too.  You (we) are all passionate about the game.  If you (we) weren't you (we) wouldn't  be here spewing all this venemous vitriol. 

You (we) will watch the games and on Tuesday we will stand in line at the bank behind the spoiled crybaby players cashing their checks from the spoiled crybaby owners.  Life goes on.

Since: Oct 17, 2006
Posted on: June 7, 2011 1:19 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Anything less than a full season and you can count me out. I have no interest in a shortened season and am becoming less interested in a full season as each day goes by. Go ahead, NFL, challenge me to find something else to do. I dare you.

Since: Jul 1, 2009
Posted on: June 7, 2011 12:33 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Bravo; very well stated; regardless of your spelling errors. I am as frustrated as you are with the greed and childish behavior on both sides in this argument and if fans did do what your asking, would serve as a reminder to all juntures of team sports. It would have an effect and would eventually work; but unfortunately will never come to pass as fans just won't stay away...Too Bad!!!

Since: Jul 13, 2008
Posted on: June 7, 2011 12:08 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

The NFL has already lost me.  I cancelled my NFL Sunday Ticket.  I'm retired and not interested in shelling out $300+ to  finance millionairs and billionairs..... 

Since: Nov 28, 2007
Posted on: June 7, 2011 11:37 am

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Jay Cutler wants an 8 game season, 19 INTS will look pretty nice on his resume.

Since: Aug 5, 2008
Posted on: June 7, 2011 11:15 am

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

That's a roger good buddy.  I love college football more anyway. 

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:52 am

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

they will lose this fan for the season if that happens!

Since: Jul 9, 2008
Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:09 am

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Oh well.  The players are acting exactly like the dumb, spolied children they are, and the owners are acting like the greedy, rich businessmen that they are.  Who is going to ultimately come out on top?  Not the fans that is for sure.  Personally, in the fall, on Sundays, starting about noon, I get really sleepy and usually end up watching the back of my eyelids.  The same goes for the NBA.  Who wants to watch a bunch of oversized goons congratulate themselves after every play?  Let them lockout forever as far as I'm concerned. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or