More Schedule Changes To Come
One of the most contested topics in today’s NFL is the possible expanded NFL season to 17 games, an 18th week in the regular season. Some players are ok with this, some aren’t. Some fans are ok with this, and surprisingly enough, some aren’t. So what does something like this mean to the NFL? I mean, it’s not like this hasn’t happened before. In the 1920’s, there really wasn’t a set schedule with some teams playing as few as 8 games, some as many as 16. From 1947-1960, the NFL played a 12 game season. The AFL began in 1960 playing a 14 game schedule. 1978 is when we got the modern format of 4 preseason games and 16 regular season games, but without a bye week until 1990. Nothing has changed really over the last 30 years, so why the controversy? Why is this a debate?
Most of the players talk about the increased potential of injury. Ok, a valid concern. My take on injury is the reduced roughness of the game has INCREASED the injury risk. I have personally spoken with former NFL wide receiver Rob Carpenter and his view is, the reduced padded practice schedule results in the body not fully preparing itself for the beating an NFL player takes throughout the season. I completely agree with his assessment. And looking at the injury plague of 2020, I think we can also put that old discussion of “the preseason isn’t needed” to rest for good. The human body needs to experience that full impact in a controlled setting, i.e. padded practice and preseason, to become stronger thereby preventing those injuries, or reducing them across the board. An extra game isn’t going to change the injury debate in a noticeable way.
From a financial standpoint, it’s not like teams can’t work out contracts to cover that extra game. It’s not like the NFL wouldn’t benefit from TV marketing for an extra week. Hell, my thought is bring back in city or in state rivalries to the NFL. Jets play the Giants every year. Chargers vs. Rams every year. Niners vs. Raiders. Houston vs. Dallas. You get my point. You rekindle those rivalries and it brings the storied history we enjoy so much in college to the professional level. Huge draw in my opinion, and a great way to promote the sport.
I would be willing to have a 2 game preseason with a 17 game regular season and if there is anyone in the NFL reading this, every team needs more camp time and more padded practice time. We need to toughen these players up again. I know this is somewhat of a shorter article, but I will close by saying 17 games, 2 preseason and an extra month of contact practices and you will see better and safer play, fewer injuries, and storied rivalries make a return to our sport. This, to me, has no real downside to speak of and if done properly, can be one of the best moves the NFL has made in 2 decades.
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