NFL owners have proposed an extension of the league’s schedule to 18 games, with the caveat being that players are limited to 16 in which they can play. We discussed the proposal yesterday, as it is something that could have wide-ranging implications for players, coaches, fans, fantasy football players, gamblers, and others.
More importantly, the NFLPA has discussed it, too. And by the sound of things, the conversation was probably a short one.
“I don’t see an 18-game schedule — under any circumstance — being in the best interest of our players,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith told ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe. “If somebody wants to make an 18-game proposal, we’ll look at it. I haven’t seen anything that makes me think that it would be good for the players.”
Here’s hoping you weren’t banking on an 18-game schedule coming any time soon.
It’s easy for us to discuss 18-game schedules, weigh positives and negatives, think about roster manipulations, and dream on all of the other things that could come if the league and its players came to an agreement. What isn’t easy to talk about is the balancing of player risks and rewards that would come with two more games (especially once the dialogue goes beyond money). The 18-game proposal has so many moving parts, it’s easy to see how difficult it would be for the NFLPA to sign off on a deal that makes it happen.
But if you’re a fan looking for a silver lining, it’s worth noting that Smith described negotiations with the NFL regarding a new CBA as “positive.” A looming player stoppage could always make things contentious between the two sides, but that both sides are working toward an agreement well before this CBA expires is a positive sign.
Just don’t bet the farm on the NFL expanding its schedule to 18 games in the immediate future.