June 18, 2010

Goodell: We Don't Need 4 Preseason Games: "It's clear the fans don't want four preseason games. It's clear the players don't want four preseason games. They tell me that all the time. You ask them that question and they'll tell you. And we really don't need it to make the game better. So we have to evolve just as we did a couple of decades ago when we went from six preseason games to four." -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

posted by rcade to football at 11:46 AM - 11 comments

From the link inside the link, from Ray Lewis:

"Don't get me wrong, I love the game of football," Lewis, prepping for his 15th NFL season, said in a statement released by the union. "If fans want to show their love, they should let everyone know that we are not machines. I've been blessed to play this game for so long, but it's time to start thinking about what legacy and impact changes like this will leave on the players of tomorrow and us after we retire.

"I know our fans may not like preseason games and I don't like all of them, but swapping two preseason games for two end-of-season games when players already play hurt comes at a huge cost for the player and team."

I'm not sure if this is the way to go. It will be good for the fans, myself included, but the players are already laying it all on the line for what is a long season.

posted by mjkredliner at 11:13 AM on June 18, 2010

I think part of this is marketing. The NCAA has been scheduling progressively earlier starts to the college football season in recent years, and college ball now gets the lion's share of the buzz and attention on either side of Labor Day. At the expense of the NFL.

I'm probably one of the few who actually likes pre-season NFL games. You get to hear announcers call the games who normally don't get much or any TV time during the season, which sometimes makes the broadcasts more lively and interesting.

Pre-season is the only time I ever get to see players like Michael Bishop on the field, and I enjoy watching those guys get their moment in the sun, so I'm bummed at the removal of that bit of entertainment.

I assume that with this decision, the two first "real" games of the season would be played in late August or very early September, when it's still hot as hell in many parts of the country and the players won't yet have built up an ample level of conditioning and endurance.

Not a recipe for success. No one wants to see another heat-related death.

The decision shows a disregard for the overall well being of the players from a league that already has to be held to the wall and forced to acknowledge and address both active player and post-career health issues.

If this goes through, the league ought to allow teams to hold more out-of-season training sessions and minicamps.

They should also extend the roster cut-down schedule so that teams could carry extra players through the first 2-4 games.

In the end, I think the decision will shorten the length of NFL careers. Which means that players will then attempt to earn an equivalent career income in fewer years. The overall cost of rosters will grow higher from year to year, and the fans will ultimately bear that increased economic burden.

posted by beaverboard at 12:46 PM on June 18, 2010

Good analysis beaverboard. I think the quality of the league will diminish in the long run because of injuries, both early in the season from insufficient time to come into form and late in the season from wear-and-tear. Wonder if the PA will be able to trade this for some benefits - maybe they can get the teams to pony up for head injuries and former players in exchange.

posted by kokaku at 12:50 PM on June 18, 2010

"We don't need four preseason games." should not necessarily equate to "We need 18 regular season games." and "It's clear the players don't want four preseason games." certainly does not equate to "It's clear the players want 18 regular season games."

posted by graymatters at 01:57 PM on June 18, 2010

How about less commercials, Rog. Then maybe I'll enjoy watching one of your games.

posted by JButton at 02:58 PM on June 18, 2010

The expanded schedule could fly if:

Rosters are expanded for the full season to spread the wear and tear on the players.

The qualification period for post-career medical coverage is shortened.

The salary cap is adjusted upward. (My thought is 12.5% for the extra 2 games plus something more to accommodate the expanded rosters.)

The season starts one week earlier and ends one week later. (This could also be adjusted a week in either direction to allow an extra bye week.)

Player salaries are adjusted upward, but not by a full 12.5%. Most starters don't play a lot in the preseason, so adjust salaries by perhaps 8% (number pulled out of my backside).

There will have to be lots of quids and lots of quos for the pros.

posted by Howard_T at 03:34 PM on June 18, 2010

In the link mjk pointed out it is suggested giving another bye week. How about giving ALL the teams a break halfway through the season. One Sunday without football. (gasp!)

As much as I like football, two more games is just two more chances for a career ending injury. IMHO

posted by steelergirl at 05:33 PM on June 18, 2010

I think, if they are going to expand the regular season, then they should shorten the post-season. Eliminate the wild cards.

posted by graymatters at 06:27 PM on June 18, 2010

I agree that an 18 game regular season would be too long, but the team (and venue) owners have a right to be concerned that two fewer games means as much as an 11% reduction in revenue. Seems everyone forgets that players are actually paid based on a 20 game schedule, not 16 - because the preseason is factored into the team revenue, even if those games aren't treated the same way.

posted by MW12 at 06:33 PM on June 18, 2010

players are actually paid based on a 20 game schedule, not 16

And some season ticket holders have to buy tickets based on a 10 game home schedule, not 8; so from that point of view it certainly makes sense.

posted by graymatters at 06:45 PM on June 18, 2010

I think it would be a good idea if the NFL, owners, and players union concentrate on getting their shit together and making a deal before worrying about how many preseason and regular season games are to be played.

posted by cheemo13 at 10:26 AM on June 19, 2010

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