One of the things the NFL and union officials are discussing is the possibility of expanding the NFL season to 18 games. This would also reduce the preseason from four games to two, which would in turn reduce the agonizing length of the preseason itself. Initially, fans look at the prospect of more games in the NFL season as a good thing – we would all want to see the Cleveland Browns play two extra games, leaving all obvious “but they’re usually unbearable to watch 16 times” jokes aside.
But should teams play extra regular season games? Obviously this is being done for the money, but it would most likely come at the cost of the players’ health. Most guys are banged up after 16 games with the playoffs becoming a real test of will against a body pleading for some rest. Plus, teams that have clinched a playoff berth aren’t afraid of whatever meager consequences there are to resting players, so for a very good team that easily distances itself from the rest of the pack, an extra two games on the schedule might have very little meaning.
To combat the potential injury problem, the league is looking at expanding active rosters and practice squads, and have even thought about the possibility of coming up with a minor league or developmental system to make up for what would be a lack of preseason games for younger players.
Whatever they come up with, I’m not sure I like the idea of expanding the NFL’s regular season. Reduce the preseason games, yes, but the length of the NFL season and postseason works well the way it is. This is all contingent on whether or not the two sides can come to an agreement but, unfortunately, money will ultimately win out in the end, and it will come at the expense of the players.