Wednesday, May 21, 2008

17th Regular-Season Game a Possibility?

John Clayton at ESPN reports that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, "raised the possibility of having a 17th regular-season game as an option to help settle some of the league's future labor problems."

What this would do is eliminate one of the four preseason games.

"It's on the table," Goodell went on to say. Meaning the players will get to vote on it as well. "We are not satisfied with the quality of the preseason right now. We'd like to improve on that," he went on to say.The rest of the article is below:

"It would create new revenue," Goodell said. "Our thought process was we might reduce preseason by a game in return for that. Actually, the players would still play the same number of games. It could give us an opportunity to play a higher quality of football."

Goodell noted that the NFL used to have six preseason games.

"Now, it's become more of a year-round business," Goodell said. "Athletes come in better prepared for the season both physically and mentally. Is it necessary to play four preseason games to get the players prepared to play in the regular season?"

For competitive purposes, the ninth home game would alternate between the conferences every other year, should the NFL use the 17th game option.

NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw didn't seem thrilled with the possibility of playing 17 regular-season games.

"No, it's great to have more revenue," Upshaw said. "Any discussion we've had with them about playing another game, they've always said, they would like to do it, but they don't want to pay for it. They say, 'Why should you be concerned, you get 60 percent?' But we also get paid on games played.

"We're not going to agree to play an extra game and not get paid for it. That's what they want us to do," he said. "That discussion is going to be very short."

I don't know, of course as a fan, I think it's a great idea. Cutting the already too long preseason down to just three games and creating another game that matters, another game that can get a team into/out of the playoffs.

Of course it's another opportunity to get the starters hurt, but in reality those starters generally play half of the last preseason game. Plus if they're playing that well in the first place, most likely they'll be sitting the whole 17th game as they now sit out the 16th game. So in reality, this 17th game could actually result in more rest for starters at a much more crucial time in the season.

Though opinions vary, a team with 12 wins going into week 16, 17 or (the proposed) 18 could most likely rest their starters the entire time. While bubble teams would get even one more opportunity to battle it out and make it into the playoffs.

Speaking of sitting your starters, I guess one more reason to hate the Patriots, if they hadn't been greedy last year in week 17 and played their starters the entire game, do you think the Giants really would have been as prepared as they were come the Super Bowl?

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