There is a labor dispute brewing that could result in a major disruption in pro football. There could be a lockout, a decertification, or other major event. The question is: how can this dispute be turned into a positive?
The owners want an 18 game schedule. They want more than one game a year played in foreign markets. They want to expand revenue, and players would financially benefit.
The players don't want more than a 16 game schedule, as the injuries that players suffer are already bad enough. What are already short careers would be made shorter. Without the players and their sacrifices, there would be no game.
Fans want their teams to have seasoned players who don't need to learn their position. A lot of players come out of the college game who just need time to groom, and then could be great. Under the current system, most of them don't have any shot. For the most part, NFL teams don't have time to groom young players. Additionally, fans would like to see the records based on 16-game schedules to be preserved. If a star wide receiver plays 18 regular season games, he might catch 150 passes and score 29 touchdowns, shattering both records, when the same level of play would not have broken records in a 16-game schedule.
Here is the proposal.
1. Expand the regular season to 18 games.
2. No player can play more than 16 regular season games. Limit the number of regular season games that any player can be active for to 16 games.
3. Create 32 minor league football teams, and associate each with one NFL team. Each will have a 45 man roster. Transfer all practice squad players to the minor league affiliate. They will play a schedule in the spring and early summer. Each NFL team can develop players in the minor league affiliate, and call them up as needed.
This proposal would mean greater revenue, better quality play in the NFL, more jobs for players, and more money for players, while not asking players to play more than 16 NFL games per year. This would also create intriguing strategic implications for teams in who they play in what game. This would add drama and excitement to the game.