Getty Images

If the NFL is going to go to an 18-game schedule, Roger Goodell wants to make sure the league and it's players association are on board. After bringing up the potential of an 18-game schedule last month, Goodell mentioned some parameters that would have to be addressed to make an 18-game regular season a reality. 

"The key thing for us is looking at making sure we continue to do the things that make our game safer," Goodell told reporters last week, via Pro Football Talk. "Seventeen games is a long season. That's number one. Working with our players association is number two. We would reach an agreement with them if we were going to proceed in that level.

"Third, this is not necessarily in order, is the quality of our game. We would do it in the context of reducing the number of preseason games. We think that's a good trade. Less preseason games and more regular-season games. I think most anybody would think was beneficial."

The NFL appears to like the 20-game slate as constructed. Prior to the 17-game regular season, the league had 16 regular season games and four preseason games. When te league went to a 17-game regular season in 2021, the preseason was reduced to three games. 

By the 20-week slate, an extra regular season game would result in another preseason game taken away. The league would go to 18 regular season games and two preseason games, but would an extra bye week be added to help out the players? This would be part of the player safety issue Goodell was talking about. 

Based on how the preseason has been trending, reducing those number of games is certainly on the table. This is where the extra regular season game comes in. 

"Again, moving to quality and making sure that we're doing everything possible to bring our fans what they want. And they want obviously more football," Goodell said. "But I'm not sure they want more preseason football."

The number appears to be 20. What form that comes in will be determined, but the preseason being cut short even more and the regular season increasing seems like the inevitable result.