The NFL believes the solution to over-saturation is more football.
The league could soon make another push to create an 18-game regular season and shorten the preseason to only two games, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.
This topic first came to light during the last labor dispute between the league and the NFL Players’ Association in 2011. It’s since been forgotten about, but talks for a revised 20-game slate could be coming in the near future.
The players pushed back against this idea in preliminary talks and would likely do it again. Sure, adding two more weeks of regular-season games would be a bandage solution for the league’s lackluster ratings problem with more primetime opportunities included.
The problem is maybe there just isn’t a need for more football. An 18-game regular season would essentially contradict the league’s value on player safety, as two more meaningful games will likely result in more battered rosters.
The elimination of two preseason games would also likely hurt the league’s already mediocre product. Teams already have less time to practice and prepare and while the preseason is certainly boring for most, it was never meant to be entertaining. There are ways to fix the preseason other than eliminating half of it and that starts with the NFL not charging outlandish prices for exhibition games between third and fourth-string players.
Of course, the NFLPA could cave to the owners’ demands if some concessions are made. That’s why it’s called bargaining, after all. An expanded schedule could lead to further expansion of rosters and surely more revenue to divvy up among players.
But, the NFL’s shove it down your throat mentality might be an ill-advised strategy. Spoiler alert: Kids still hate spinach after they’re forced to eat it. More football games could lead to more bad football games and that could turn off an already fading audience even more.