It’s long felt like a 17-game NFL season was a foregone conclusion. And earlier this week it became a reality. however, as it turns out, that vote wasn’t unanimous.
Citing four sources who were on the video conference call for the vote, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reports Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey voted *AGAINST* expanding to a 17-game season. Wickersham doesn’t report if the Bears were the only team voting against the 17-game season, which passed yesterday. But does it matter? I mean, it’s a pretty big deal that the Chairman of the league’s charter franchise went against the grain.
On the one hand, it’s a bit surprising to learn McCaskey voted against the 17th game. More games equals more money coming in by way of paid attendance, advertising, TV deals, and other streams. And more money coming in means more revenues to be shared. Based on the cashflow alone, I didn’t think the Bears would be a team voting against a 17-game schedule.
Perhaps McCaskey is a traditionalist who wants the NFL to stick to its ways. Maybe he is cognizant of how the 17-game schedule came to be as a money grab rooted in the league pushing through a new Collective Bargaining Agreement during a global pandemic. Is this a long-haul ploy to curry favor to players? Particularly those who have been vocal in being against 17-game seasons? Could there be some other reasons that aren’t rattling around in my brain? Probably. But I can’t help it that an initial reaction to this news was: “Dang, even George McCaskey wants less Bears football.” Even if that thought was in jest and with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
Nevertheless, the NFL is going with a 17-game season. And I can’t help but wonder if this is the gateway to 18 games sometime in the near future. Because if the NFL can push through a 17-game schedule this easily, a schedule with an even number of games can’t be too far behind. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. In the meantime, now I’m wondering how McCaskey would vote on that decision.