Blog Entry

18 Games is too many

Posted on: April 16, 2011 3:54 pm
This is the post I was intending to write last week when things went terribly wrong. It was a little like the old exam hall panic when you're buddy is asking for extra paper after an hour while you've got seven lines of scribble. You know you need to write more, but have no valuable content so just keep filling pages with crap.

So, we were having a conversation at work last week about the NFL mediation and the expansion of the season to 18 games. 18 games is only for those teams that have no postseason. Last year the Packers played 20 games, had 16 players on IR and a further two - Woodson and Shields - get injured in the SuperBowl. In order to get through the season, they would have needed upwards of 70 players.

Now while that is possible, although I don't think acive rosters will expand by that many (think of the owners paying another 18 guys $400K a year) the conversation turned to how much talent there is coming out of college.

A few years back, there were 28 teams in the NFL, 53 players per team is around 1500 players on active rosters. If we went to 60 players on active rosters (a 14% increase for a 12% increase in games played) for the 32 teams we would have 1900 players on active rosters.

Making a huge leap that there has been no overall increase in the talent level coming out of college (which without research is tough to say definitively but is a fair assumption), we would have much diluted talent levels as the season wears on. Personally, I would rather not watch a Super Bowl filled with players that perhaps wouldn't have made an active roster 5 years ago.  

Cut the preseason by all means, but those games don't matter that much anyhow, but extending the regular season ultimately will dilute the talent level too far.

Category: NFL
Tags: 18 games, NFL, Packers

Since: Jul 10, 2010
Posted on: April 24, 2011 9:25 am

18 Games is too many

I think most people agree 18 is too many, and these debates about coaching, injury and talent are almost beside the point. There is always a tendancy to want more, and often it winds up spoiling a good thing. 16 games, 32 teams. These are the numbers that matter, and make the NFL the greatest league in professional sports.

With so few games the competition level is incredibly fierce from week 1 to 17 (for the most part). With 18 games, there will be a ton of meangless games late in the year, which will be about as exciting to watch as the Pro Bowl. Each game will also become slightly less significant. There are a million reasons to keep it at 16 games, and really only one reason to expand: $$$. And sadly, money and greed almost always win in the end.

Also, I'm siding with the players 100% in the dispute. All teams in the NFL should be fan owned, like the Packers. Unfortunately though, the Pack actually have an illegal ownership structure according to NFL law (which sets rules requiring majority owners), but they were grandfathered when the new rules took effect. So for us Packer fans, we support a team that is far superior to the very league they play in, let alone the other teams. Here's to hoping for another season and another Lombardi...

Since: Aug 1, 2007
Posted on: April 18, 2011 9:41 am

18 Games is too many


Appreciate the thoughts. I do agree that the standard of coaching has to be better in the NFL than in the other leagues. Part of this has to be fact that the players and coaches have the ability to focus pretty much exclusively on this. The NFL pays a ton of money to a ton of people that are tasked with finding the best prospects and players and working on schemes to make them effective.

That said, there are as many busts in the NFL as there are undrafted superstars, JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, Justin Harrell were all high picks that haven't made it yet. Charles Rogers also spring to mind.

Of the 1952 players on the opening day roster (and I thank you for doing the math), there are 704 starters not including specialists, so maybe a total of 792 if each team has a dedicated PR and KR and one K pulling KO and FG duties plus a punter.

The other 1160 are not as good as these (otherwise they'd be starting). As injuries take their toll, more of the 1160 make it onto the field, and while some may make good, (Brady for Bledsoe) others are a definite drop in talent. for the Packers, think Rodgers versus Matt Flynn. Once players go on IR, others are drafted up from the practice squad or from the street bringing the average talent level down.

Now are these guys still way better than the majority of us, heck yeah. Would there be a noticeable change in results,  - doubtful if all teams are affected roughly equally, but the quality of players would slowly come down. Unless it became XFL standard, I'm sure I'd still go to games, buy shirts, play fantasy football and watch games on TV, but at some point, injuries would have an effect - even if it was just that the players on the field in December had less coaching time and didn't understand the playbook as well as the guys on the roster all year.

Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: April 17, 2011 11:20 am

18 Games is too many

There are typically 1952 players on rosters at the start of each year in the NFL.
1696 on the active roster with 1440 active on game day. with an additional 256 practice squad players.
And the number grows as far as players that appeared on an NFL roster each and every week, and always has.
Given that these players would not all retire, and the draft adds 224 players each year not counting compensatory draft picks (32 additional picks this year) and undrafted free agents that somehow get missed...

In 7 years there could literally be complete turnover of talent in the NFL.

The superior product we see is the level of coaching of the NFL teams. Not the players.

Kurt Warner was bagging groceries, and became MVP.
Arian Foster wasn't drafted.
Antonio Gates wasn't drafted and didn't even play college football. He is on his way to the greatest career a TE has ever had.

The talent will always be there, even when the league expands to new areas and more teams.
And 18 or 22 games.

The reason the talent will always be there is because of the coaching. That's the real diference between the NFL and the CFL or Arena league.

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