Interest in preseason football is waning, so naturally the conversation turns to flipping some of those games into regular season contests. After all, more meaningful football is good … right?
But what if the NFL eliminated the most meaningless games of the football year and replaced them with most meaningful contests? It’s a thought that might have crossed the minds of the powers that be who are running the league.
Per the Washington Post, people familiar with the league’s thinking are convinced that the preseason (as we know it) will be shortened. But rather than shift to an 18-game regular season schedule (as has been rumored in the past), an expansion of the NFL postseason could be the focus of any talks surrounding shortening the preseason (in part because of the players union’s resistance to more regular season games). In any case, extra playoff games would be a bold move for the NFL, but one I think fans would embrace.
In this scenario, the league would add two playoff teams (one for each league), eliminate one of the two bye weeks, and play six first-round games (including one possibly on a Monday night). Without diving too deep into things, I love the idea of more playoffs (and not just because more spots could mean more opportunities for the Bears to make a run at the Super Bowl).
As I mentioned, the idea of an 18-game schedule hasn’t received much traction from players, so perhaps switching gears and replacing preseason exhibitions with postseason would be more enticing. Remember, while many of us don’t think much of preseason football, the two home games each team gets is a place where team revenue is generated. Owners would be more willing to give up those games if they knew they could replace the money they would make in other ways.
Let’s face it, money is a factor here and no one ever is going to agree to take less money. That’s just not how things work. But what is feasible is that postseason games replacing preseason action could be attractive for both sides.