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.

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Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: June 6, 2011 5:20 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

The poster that says 8 games is better than none is a real football fan.

The poster that says that 8 games doesn't allow for fantasy football and thus is worthless is a "fantasy" football fan.  My guess is they are either 12 years old, and thus can't understand football as a sport apart from the boom of fantasy connections over the last 5-6 years or they never really followed football but like competing and the fantasy part fulfills them.

Either way I'm with the "8 games is better than nothing" group, and I've been in a fantasy football league for about 13 years now (we started doing everything by hand, not this automatic web site stuff).  But I can differentiate between real football and the fake stuff.  We have an "owner" in our league that will actually root against his favorite team based on player matchups in his fantasy game that week - and that disgusts me.  Fantasy football has its place, but its nowhere near as important as the real product.

Since: Jun 2, 2009
Posted on: June 6, 2011 5:13 pm

Indy's Sched

The Colts schedule will look like this:
Away - Titans
Home - Jaguars
Away - Texans
Away - Patriots
Home - Packers
Home - Titans
Away - Jaguars
Home - Texans

My prediction is they go 5-3. 

Since: Jun 26, 2008
Posted on: June 6, 2011 5:06 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Steelers were 5-2 in all those seasons except 2006. Random observation.

Since: Aug 11, 2010
Posted on: June 6, 2011 5:05 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

I could buy in if they expanded the number of playoff teams as a one year exception.  An 8 game season would be a sham, but 8 weeks of football is still better than zero weeks of football. 

Since: Jan 16, 2009
Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:55 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

F the 8 games schedule hwo can we get in a season of fantasy football with only 8 games? THe season needs to be 18 or nothing

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:52 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Any story is boring until the one that says, "it's settled".  Nobody cares about the pettiness and intracancies of the dispute, just want it done.  And yes, Goodell sucks.

Since: May 2, 2008
Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:51 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Terrible idea....Perhaps, if the fans say they will not attend nor watch any of the eight games the league and players will get their head out of their tales and get on with it. It is now beyond ridiculous! with the average player making over 1.8 million a season, I have no sympathy for them and for the owners to lock them out, thus losing revenue, I have no sympathy for them. Have they learned NOTHING from MLB, which needed a steroid season or the NHL, which is still mostly in the crapper?


Since: Nov 13, 2007
Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:41 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

They can take an 8 game season and stick it, if that's how it goes everyone should be boycotting the league and any product that advertises on the games. Full season or F off !

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:37 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Less chances for injury?  Not sure it's really scaring the players.

Since: Mar 29, 2011
Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:24 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

This is un real and it sucks. i dont even want to think of this happening. for those of you who remember the last strike the only good thing that came out of that was the polish prince Don Makowski. if your a fan of the game dont even argue this. the packers are going into their most exciting season in years Im sorry but this will mess it up bad.Frown

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