Tag:18-game schedule
Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:39 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 9:42 pm
 

Goodell on 18 games: 'People want more football'

Whether fans want it or not (they don't appear to), what about the safety concerns of an 18-game schedule? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's salary will reportedly double to $20 million as part of a new five-year contract extension from the NFL. That's a lot of coin but if the league wasn't awash in money the owners wouldn't reward Goodell with that kind of payday.

Not surprisingly, some players were less than effusive when they heard the news, probably because depending on your perspective, Goodell's tenure as commissioner falls somewhere between awesome (the owners) and awful (the players). Falcons wide receiver Roddy White tweeted apoplectically Tuesday:

"How in the hell can u pay a man this much money that can't run tackle or catch?"

And before you roll your eyes, this isn't a "he's never played the game!" argument. When someone suggested that Goodell's oversight as commissioner has allowed White to make a lot of money, White got testy.

"Thats the stupidest thing i have ever heard the players make this league dont ever forget that," White tweeted in response. "My god given talents feed me not him."

This is true. No fan in the history of tackle football has ever bought a ticket to a game to see Goodell. We talked about this on a recent Pick-6 Podcast and our opinion is basically this: Goodell is a savvy politician who worked his way up from the bottom and is now presiding over the nation's most popular sport. He is responsible for it's growth, yes, but without players the NFL wouldn't exist in it's current form. We're pretty sure Goodell would agree with this.


We mention this because Goodell spoke recently about the state of the league, specifically addressing expansion ("We are not considering expansion. I’ve tried to make that clear when I was asked by Bob Costas recently.") and the never-gonna-die 18-game schedule discussions.

“Well, I appreciate the enthusiasm for it and I hear it from the fans consistently," Goodell told ESPN 1050, dusting off his not-entirely-accurate talking points from this summer's lockout. "People want more football. I think they want less preseason and more regular season and that’s the concept we are talking about here."

Again, this is stretching the truth. Everybody -- fans, players, media -- thinks the preseason is too long. But that doesn't mean they want, say, two fewer preseason games if it means two more regular-season games. Last May, CBSSports.com's Josh Katzowitz did an informal Twitter poll and found that 83.9 percent of respondents were fine with the 16-game schedule.

In February 2011, Sports Illustrated's Peter King did his own Twitter poll and concluded that "18 percent of 1,200 football fans, less than one out of every five, want what Goodell says they want. And 82 percent want to keep it at 16 regular-season games."

But even if you call B.S. on the self-selection bias in such polls, what about this? Goodell has championed safety above all else but isn't he talking out of both sides of his mouth when he says "safety is No. 1" and then clamoring for two additional regular-season games because the fans want it?

In November 2010, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said "The additional games, the studies show, will not really increase injuries."

Technically, Ross was right. Esquire wrote about this issue back in January 2011:
Dated September 6, 2010, the 26-page version (of a study conducted by an independent research firm for an NFLPA injury report) relies on data from the NFL Injury Surveillance System in following 16,552 injuries from 2004 to 2009 — position-by-position, game-by-game, and location-by-location.

Over the course of a season, the analysis found that 16.1 percent of injuries occurred in training camp, another 24.7 percent in preseason, and 57.9 percent during the regular season. In total, 21.2 percent classified as "major" injuries, with severity increasing dramatically from the regular season to the postseason. And while game-related injuries actually trended down from week to week, the report's introduction of head-injury data provides an alarming juxtaposition…
The juxtaposition? Total team injuries decrease over the course of a 16-game season and into the postseason but the percentage of brain-related injuries increases over that same time. (You can see the charts here.)

Perhaps that's a function of better awareness about the long-term dangers of concussions, as well as improved testings procedures. "Still," the Esquire piece concludes, "the early version of the report states that each player now has a 10 percent chance of suffering from a concussion in a given season."

However you spin it, that's not good.

Back to Goodell's recent radio appearance:

"We wouldn’t add an extra two games without reducing the preseason and we are not going to do it without the players support, so we did that in the collective bargaining agreement instead of having the unilateral right, which we had," he said. "We determined that we were going to do this together. We are going to make changes in the offseason and during the preseason and during the regular season to make the game safer. If we can accomplish that we’ll look at the idea of restructuring the season and taking two preseason games away and the potential of adding regular season games, but I don’t think that will happen until at least 2013 or 14.”

Conspiracy theorists might say that while Goodell's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits and unprotected pass-catchers does make the game safer, it's also something he and the owners can point to in a few years and say, "See, we take this very seriously, illegal hits are down, the NFL is less violent, the next logical step: 18-game seasons."

Because other than money, there's no urgency here. If Goodell truly is listening to the fans (or the players), this wouldn't ever come up again. We're guessing that ain't happening.

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Posted on: November 28, 2010 12:36 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2010 2:40 pm
 

'Cold-weather owners' want Labor Day kickoff date

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL has long foregone a Labor Day weekend kickoff, for various reasons (people are traveling so ticket sales and ratings hurt a little, etc., etc.) but the likelihood of an 18-game season could open up Labor Day as a possible football date.

CBS Sports' Charley Casserly reported on Sunday there's another reason why the NFL might happen that weekend -- a group of 'cold-weather owners' want to keep their fans out of the cold. Literally.

"Remember, there would be a bye on Labor Day, and the season would begin the week after Labor Day," Casserly said when James Brown inquired about the 18-game schedule. "However, I've learned there's a group of northern owners, cold-weather owners, that want to start the season on Labor Day to have one less game in January.

"The reason? It's hard to sell tickets in January, and you're going to have no-shows with people that have already bought tickets."

The idea of losing ticket sales to "vacationers" takes less of a hit when suddenly, that Sunday kickoff weekend becomes a "vacation" of it's own -- fans would be able to attend NFL games with their friends and families without worrying about keeping kids out late or being, ahem, tired after hanging out in a football stadium all day Sunday.

Additionally, the NFL would get monster ratings during the Sunday time frame, as it's a pretty typical date for cookouts and gatherings of friends and family around the country.

That being said, though, there's probably nothing good about a division of opinion amongst one of the sides in an already contentious debate -- if the owners can't agree on how to handle an 18-game schedule that most players don't prefer ever to see, negotiations could get even uglier than they already are.



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Posted on: June 17, 2010 1:11 pm
 

Raging Debate Over 18-Game Schedule

The NFL Players Union isn’t thrilled with the PR campaign the NFL has put forth for extending to an 18-game season. After the two sides discussed the issue Wednesday, NFL executives (namely Packers president Mark Murphy) rushed to the media and spoke glowingly about what the league is calling an “enhanced season”.

Murphy said, “Part of it is really providing more value to our fans.”

The NFLPA responded by releasing comments from Ray Lewis and Tom Brady.

“I know our fans may not like preseason games and I don’t like all of them,” said Lewis, “but swapping two preseason games for two end-of-season games — when players already play hurt — comes at a huge cost for the player and the team.”

“I’ve taken part in several postseason runs where we have played 20 games,” said Brady. “The long-term impact this game has on our bodies is well documented. Look no further than the players that came before we did. Each player today has to play three years in order to earn five years of post-career health care.”

Because the preseason is a time for young fringe players to gain experience, Murphy said the NFL may consider establishing a developmental league to make up for the lost opportunities. (The NFL’s current D-League is known as the NCAA.)

The 18-game season will be a sizzling debate in the coming months. Under the CBA, the league has the right to expand to a 22-game season (18 regular season games; four preseason games). But because Roger Goodell and owners want to shorten the low-quality preseason, the league is pushing for an 18-regular, 2-pre season game format.

Expanding the NFL regular season by two games is the equivalent of expanding the Major League Baseball season by 20 games. The financial repercussions are significant and, as Lewis and Brady iterated, so are the physical ones.

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 15, 2010 2:32 pm
 

Regular Season Extension To Be Discussed Wednesda

The great debate looming for fans in all these labor negotiations is the possibility of an 18-game regular season. Good idea or bad idea? Be prepared to choose a side at some point.

Jason La Canfora writes that Wednesday’s labor negotiations between the NFLPA and NFL will likely touch on this subject. Owners generally like the idea of an extended regular season; players don’t. This issue could impact roster sizes, salaries and, of course, television schedules. You’ll hear more and more about it over the next year.
 
P.S. It’s worth noting that in La Canfora’s article, the regular season extension is referred to as “regular season enhancement”. Could this be because La Canfora works for NFL.com, and Roger Goodell is in favor of an 18-game schedule?

--Andy Benoit

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