Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Owners Are The Only Winners With An 18 Game Season

I said my piece the other day about how I feel about the NFL expanding to 18 games but then I saw this comment from John Clayton in a post over at joebucsfan and I want to make a couple quick points.

joebucsfan reported:

Joe was intrigued by Clayton’s confidence that NFL owners will approve an 18-game season later this summer. He was certain that owners have the votes to pass it. And he said he was quite sure players would embrace “swapping a $1,000 a week preseason game check for veterans for a game check,” which would represent “roughly a 14 percent pay increase.”

Now I wasn't listening to the broadcast so I am not sure if Clayton ever clarified this point or not but if he didn't his argument is TOTALLY bogus.

First let's clear something up. I have been listening intently and I have yet to hear a single active player "embrace" an 18 game season. As a matter of fact its been quite the contrary with several big name players like Ray Lewis and Steven Jackson coming out very vocally AGAINST an 18 games season. So I would love to know whom Clayton is referencing here when he says players would embrace it.

But the bigger point is this, NFL contracts are based on seasons, not games played. As a matter of fact players can elect to be paid over the course of the year rather than just during the season if they so wish. But Clayton seems to be trying to suggest that players would get more money added to their existing contract if the owners go to an 18 game season and while anything is possible that is highly unlikely. Not only that I haven't heard a single person involved with the NFL come out and propose any such thing.

Let me break it down for you. Basically the NFL is saying players will play 2 extra games and instead of having their salary for that season broken up into 17 weeks it will be broken up into 19 weeks. Same salary, less money every pay period.

Now I know average fans like to compare their job to NFL players, so answer me this. If your boss came to you and said you now had to work two more weeks per year but your salary would stay exactly the same, would you be dancing in the streets?

I don't think so.

I imagine you might have to do it because jobs aren't growing on trees right now, but that doesn't mean you would have to like it.

Same goes for NFL Players.

Oh and as fans do you think you are going to get into those extra 2 games for free?

You think advertisers will get to show their commercials during those two games for free?

Surely the networks who cover the NFL will get to broadcast those games for free, right?


The NFL owners are about to get PAID jack, but ain't nobody else bout to see a cut. Yeah we all get to see two more games and I'm sure fans think that's great, but as I said when I talked on Bomani Jones' show what kind of quality of football do you think you will see in game 17 and game 18. Especially from teams that have already made the playoffs.

Essentially everybody is going to be paying regular season money for preseason quality if you ask me and many of the other players that have already weighed in on the issue.

So where did the notion that the players might be for this proposal come from?

Well for years NFL players have complained about the length of the preseason and having to play 4 and in some cases 5 preseason games. The problem is it exposes players to injury and you also get paid peanuts compared to your regular salary. But the point was to take away a preseason game or two to take the load off our bodies. The point WASN'T to replace it.

If anything adding two regular season games is putting guys more at risk of injury because the roster is smaller, the starters are expected to play the whole game and there's only so many guys who get to dress for regular season games.

Now having said all this, I still think the NFL owners will agree to lengthen the season. After all its definitely going to improve THEIR bottom line. But the point has to be made that the players are not by in large going to be happy about it nor support it. And you can bet your bottom dollar its going to be an issue for debate during the negotiation of the new CBA.

Addendum: I should have addressed this in the post to begin with but better late than never. A popular "fix" proposed by some knowledgeable NFL commentators is to increase both the roster and the number of guys allowed to suit up for each game.

Now in my opinion there is some merit in that approach but there are also some realities it won't address.

First off even if you suit up more guys during a regular season game, who is going to play less so one of those guys can give them a breather? This is a serious question because other than the defensive line, and not even always with them, most starters play either the whole game or the overwhelming percentage of snaps every game. Is having more guys available on game day going to mean Ray Lewis or Jared Allen or Darrelle Revis or Leonard Davis or hell even Peyton Manning will play less?

Of course not.

Its worth pointing out how preseason games usually go. In the first game the starters might play as much as a quarter, in the second game its usually a half, the third game they may play as much as three quarters to get the feel of coming back out after half time and then in the fourth game, or rather the last game if they have five, the starters don't see much action at all. So out of four preseason games its rare that any starter plays a full game.

But in a regular season game the starters playing all or most of the snaps is the norm. So the risk of injury is obviously going to go up when you add two regular season games even with an expanded roster.

Now where the expanded roster may definitely help is on special teams. With only so many guys allowed to dress on game day many times teams are forced to use starters to run down on point or block for kickoffs etc. With more guys up, in theory at least, fewer starters will be on those units. Of course some special teams coaches put such a premium on that phase of the game that they may still use starters if they don't have confidence in their backups.

The last aspect I would point out is that the NFL owners are already crying poor. Now you are saying they would have to pay more salaries every week? And you think they are going to go for that without a fight? It defies everything we know about the owners at this point. Besides that it would punch a huge hole in their contention that they are losing money on players salaries already.

In the end if we go to 18 game seasons then yes you have to expand the rosters and allow more players to be available on game day. But its not going to solve everything that is wrong with that model.

1 comment:

  1. I don't see how there's any way something like this happens unless it's part of the new CBA and the owners acknowledge that the salaries will go up by the same percentage. Otherwise, I could easily see the players just going on strike.