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: Mar 15, 2011
Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:00 pm


if the season is only 8 games, will I still have to pay the full deal for my psl?  the team told me yes--but that don't seem fair.  what gives?

Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:59 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

As much as I hate to say it, ominous24, you are most likely wrong.  Goodell works for the owners; hence, they are the ones to blame the most.  Likely, he is just doing their bidding, but if he really had gonads he would get on their (owners) case and get this thing settled.  If the intent of the owners is to break the union and/or get major concessions, this will go on.  If that happens, I say just don't play this year and see how that works for both sides plus us fans. 
It will kill us Fantasy Football owners and, I must say, Fantasy Football really got me back into professional football.  For the most part, the owners made this mess and, to me, they are the most to blame.

Since: Jul 26, 2008
Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:53 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Yes, you should be alone. Only fools believe that this puppet actually calls the shots. There are puppets all over the place to take the blame/criticism in our society, most notably the Presidency. You need to get your head out of your @ss if you don't know about the handful of people that sit around in a room and make the decisions and send out the face guy to take the heat. Open your mind!!! You believe everything that you're supposed to, I guess, like a good sheep....err boy!

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:46 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Boring Story.    Of course the NFL will have plans for short seasons and it makes sense to leak the one that scares the players the most and an 8 game season is just that.   

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:43 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

Am I alone when I say the biggest problem with the NFL right now is Roger Goodell?

Since: Jan 3, 2008
Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:32 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

twistedmofo-I wish I could tell you no dont start the #4 watch but Im afraid It may need to start. No OTA's no mini camp,possibly only 1 preseason game. #4 if he returns is in a dolphins jersey mark my word!!

Since: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: June 6, 2011 2:58 pm

NFL contingency plans include 8-game season

No OTAs, No mini-camps, no pre-season,  8 weeks season....

Should I start the Bret Favre watch alarm now????

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