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Eighteen Game Schedule could be key to Labor Issue (CNNSI)


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http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/john_lopez/07/13/schedule/index.html?eref=sihp

The NFL Players Association and owners are beginning to cast warning shots in what could become a bitter labor feud by next March. Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the league's recent rookie symposium that he'd like to see more tangible progress in the labor negotiations. Translation: The NFLPA is dragging its feet.

The NFLPA, meanwhile, filed a complaint with labor authorities, questioning whether the league built a type of unfair "lockout insurance" in its most recent TV deal. In other words, if there is a lockout, owners still would get paid, but players would not. The league's response was to call the complaint, "simply a distraction [that does] nothing to get us any closer to a new CBA."

Yet amid this growing strain, it's becoming equally obvious that one thing could solve the labor dispute before it gets too ugly and protracted: an 18-game regular season schedule.

Both sides see possibilities and potential in the recently proposed 18-game format, which would include reducing the preseason to two games instead of its current four. For players, it could mean more money -- if owners are willing to back away from their stated position to the contrary. For owners, it would mean more money. That's always a good place to start. More money for everybody can solve just about any labor impasse.

And as much as fans will be a mere afterthought when it comes to hammering out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, even Joe Six Pack benefits from an 18-game schedule. There would be more meaningful games on the big-screen and more bang for the buck for season ticket-holders. As it is now, season ticket-holders pay the same price for two meaningless home preseason games as they do for the eight home regular-season games.

So what's the problem? Why isn't everyone hopping onboard, celebrating an easy agreement and counting up the billions of reasons the NFL is the best sports league on the planet? Three issues, of course, continue to simmer as stumbling blocks.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/john_lopez/07/13/schedule/index.html?eref=sihp#ixzz0tfDarHv6

(click link for rest of story...)

Personally...I love the ideas this guy is proposing. A developmental league played in the spring (replacing pre-season), a longer regular season, and training camp consisting of scrimmages...

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Does anyone think the owners won't raise ticket prices if the season goes to 18 games?

I agree with some of the players that 18 games is just too much. Most players are completely worn down by Week 15 or 16. And how would there be more meaningful games? If a team clinches there division in Week 15 or so, that's 4 Weeks have not playing and meaningful games.

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Does anyone think the owners won't raise ticket prices if the season goes to 18 games?

I agree with some of the players that 18 games is just too much. Most players are completely worn down by Week 15 or 16. And how would there be more meaningful games? If a team clinches there division in Week 15 or so, that's 4 Weeks have not playing and meaningful games.

Well, if they played 18 games and no preseason games, it would be a wash according to the article (the writer estimated that regulars played roughly 1.5 games out of the 4-5 preseason games).

Also, the clinching aspect doesn't change from a 16-game schedule. If a team clinches the division/home field in week 15 of an 18-game schedule, they'd have likely clinched earlier in a 16-game schedule. Plus, there would have been the 4 meaningless preseason games also.

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Well, if they played 18 games and no preseason games, it would be a wash according to the article (the writer estimated that regulars played roughly 1.5 games out of the 4-5 preseason games).

Also, the clinching aspect doesn't change from a 16-game schedule. If a team clinches the division/home field in week 15 of an 18-game schedule, they'd have likely clinched earlier in a 16-game schedule. Plus, there would have been the 4 meaningless preseason games also.

I dunno, I'm just not a fan of it. There'll be more injuries and then all the records will be broken like crazy. I mean to get 1,000 yards rushing or receiving in a season, all you would need to do is average 56 yards a game, which is 7 yards less a game under a 16 game schedule. To get 3,000 yards passing all you'll need is 167 yards passing a game. So all the previous stats would be meaningless.

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I dunno, I'm just not a fan of it. There'll be more injuries and then all the records will be broken like crazy. I mean to get 1,000 yards rushing or receiving in a season, all you would need to do is average 56 yards a game, which is 7 yards less a game under a 16 game schedule. To get 3,000 yards passing all you'll need is 167 yards passing a game. So all the previous stats would be meaningless.

Plus as much as fans dislike preseason games, they give valuable insight about players trying to make the team.

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Plus as much as fans dislike preseason games, they give valuable insight about players trying to make the team.

Well, the article's suggested alternative would be the developmental league that would play in the spring. Teams would have 3-4 games to make those types of decisions in the spring, then all of training camp, scrimmages vs. regional opponents, etc.

It's radical, but if it brought the players and owners closer to an agreement, I'd give up the preseason, take 2 extra "real" games, and start the season in early-September.

As for records, this is going to come up from time to time in sports. We've gone from 14 to 16 games...so eventually they are going to add games (one would think).

Lastly (and this is my addition, not a point in the article), I think you can more cleanly schedule the season with 18 games.

6 games vs. your division

4 games vs. NFCN division

4 games vs. NFCS division

4 games vs. NFCW division

Basically, you could go to a format similar to MLB prior to interleague play. Or, if you don't like that, you play two division from your conference and one division from the other conference each year. It's a little cleaner than the 2 "wild card" games they throw in now by matching 1st place teams with 1st place teams, etc.

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I dunno, I'm just not a fan of it. There'll be more injuries and then all the records will be broken like crazy. I mean to get 1,000 yards rushing or receiving in a season, all you would need to do is average 56 yards a game, which is 7 yards less a game under a 16 game schedule. To get 3,000 yards passing all you'll need is 167 yards passing a game. So all the previous stats would be meaningless.

If they change the length of the season, I hope they will change the way records are kept/recorded. Records should be changed to a per games in a season basis. So instead of Marino's 5280 in a season passing yard record, it would be changed to 330 passing yards per season game. Otherwise records will be shattered left and right.

And yes, I realize the same thing happened in 78 when they went to 16 games, but they can always recalculate those records too (which would put OJ and Jim Brown back on top for single season rushing yard records). Also its been 32 years of records where football has grown significantly in popularity. I think its a much bigger deal now.

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If they change the length of the season, I hope they will change the way records are kept/recorded. Records should be changed to a per games in a season basis. So instead of Marino's 5280 in a season passing yard record, it would be changed to 330 passing yards per season game. Otherwise records will be shattered left and right.

And yes, I realize the same thing happened in 78 when they went to 16 games, but they can always recalculate those records too (which would put OJ and Jim Brown back on top for single season rushing yard records). Also its been 32 years of records where football has grown significantly in popularity. I think its a much bigger deal now.

I honestly don't believe the records should be a significant consideration when deciding on the number of games being played. As you mention, there are bookkeeping ways to make it work and be fair...that's something you figure out as you need to, not something you use to make the decision, IMO.

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Lastly (and this is my addition, not a point in the article), I think you can more cleanly schedule the season with 18 games.

6 games vs. your division

4 games vs. NFCN division

4 games vs. NFCS division

4 games vs. NFCW division

I'd do it this way:

6 division games

4 vs. one NFC division (this year ours would be the NFC North)

4 vs. one AFC division.

The other 4 games would be (in our case) vs. the NFC South and West.

1st and 2nd in each division would play 1st and 2nd. 3rd and 4th would play 3rd and 4th. So in addition to TB and St.L, the Skins would get 3rd place Carolina and 3rd place Seattle.

I'd like to the keep the AFC games.

And remember, the league went from less than 10 games, to 10 games, to 12 games, to 14 games, to 16 games. So they've increased it several times.

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PJ, that's fine too...I'm not really married to a particular format. I just thought you had more flexibility to have divisional rivals play a more similar schedule if you really wanted to.

For example, we could all have an identical schedule if they just chose to have us play 2 NFC and 1 AFC division with our 12 non-divisional games.

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PJ, that's fine too...I'm not really married to a particular format. I just thought you had more flexibility to have divisional rivals play a more similar schedule if you really wanted to.

For example, we could all have an identical schedule if they just chose to have us play 2 NFC and 1 AFC division with our 12 non-divisional games.

I thought about that also. We'd play the NFCN and NFCW and an AFC division. Then next year we'd play the NFCW and NFCS and another AFC division. That would work.

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I thought about that also. We'd play the NFCN and NFCW and an AFC division. Then next year we'd play the NFCW and NFCS and another AFC division. That would work.

Right you have that option...but that's assuming you (general "you" not you specifically) believe each team from a division should have the exact same schedule. Personally, I do (odd coming from a fan of a team that generally benefits from playing a 4th place schedule). I think the NFL changes so much from year to year that the fairest thing to do is to make each team play the same opponents each year so that there is no complaining about strength of schedule.

As I mentioned, you could even go the extra mile and have each team play every single team from its conference once (divisional opponents twice) every single year. But then you lose out on the interconference games and I'm sure that wouldn't go over well from a marketing perspective.

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I think they should go to a 18 game season.

I also think they should institute a league-wide bye week in the middle of the season. You can toy with the idea of playing the Pro Bowl then, but thats another discussion.

Also, there should be a bye week in between the last week of the season and Wildcard weekend. Downside is that seeds #1 and 2 in both Conferences would then have TWO whole weeks of no football. While that sounds like a well deserved rest, it could be too much time in between football games.

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I love how the thrust of the article is that the PLAYERS are what is holding up CBA talks.

Lets's just remind everyone how this all went down.

The contract was in place and would have run just fine through 2013.

The OWNERS are the group that OPTED OUT of the deal. When they lock out the players, it will be because they screwed up, not the players. Don't opt out of a deal before you have a new one in place. Arrogant ****s.

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];7634965']I think they should go to a 18 game season.

I also think they should institute a league-wide bye week in the middle of the season. You can toy with the idea of playing the Pro Bowl then' date=' but thats another discussion.

Also, there should be a bye week in between the last week of the season and Wildcard weekend. Downside is that seeds #1 and 2 in both Conferences would then have TWO whole weeks of no football. While that sounds like a well deserved rest, it could be too much time in between football games.[/quote']

I think that gets tricky. The MAJOR upside to being a top-2 seed is the week off. It's a nice rest, but doesn't get you too rusty. We've even seen recently though, that some teams don't even handle that one week very well. I think you almost have to roll right into the first round of the playoffs after the final week of the regular season.

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Personally...I love the ideas this guy is proposing. A developmental league played in the spring (replacing pre-season), a longer regular season, and training camp consisting of scrimmages...

I LOVE THIS IDEA!!!

I will be all for replacing the preseason games completely with a developmental league 4-6 games during the spring. They would probably have to move the NFL draft into March but I think it will be great!

Too bad that NFL just can't buyout the CFL and turn that into a TRUE developmental league with some expansion CFL teams into England/Mexcio/USA.

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I doubt any of the things that guy's suggesting happen because the players won't want it (except maybe the developmental league, which would be great for most players AND owners). No player is going to agree to all this stuff and the owners are just pushing for it so that when they all sit down at the bargaining table and the players say, "We want more money", the owners can say, "then pick from the cap/scrimmages/18 games/rookie salary structure what you're willing to give us in return."

This is all nothing but posturing leading up to discussions. I think it ends up being a salary cap & rookie cap, the owners give up 18 game season, and if a developmental league is created in the US, then I think the preseason gets shortened to 3 games.

More than anything, I think all this stuff the owners are bringing up is so that a lock-out doesn't happen, and both parties can be happy.

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];7634965']I think they should go to a 18 game season.

I also think they should institute a league-wide bye week in the middle of the season.

A weekend completely without the NFL in October or November?

I think I'd twitch a lot.

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I honestly don't believe the records should be a significant consideration when deciding on the number of games being played. As you mention, there are bookkeeping ways to make it work and be fair...that's something you figure out as you need to, not something you use to make the decision, IMO.

Oh I agree records shouldn't be a factor in the decision to go to an 18 game season. I am just cringing at the thought of the talking heads on ESPN going on and on about how Brees/Brady/Peyton are close to "breaking" Dan Marino's 26 year old passing record.

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