We all love a sport that is always changing, and it seems more so of late, and it is going to continue with the yearly rule changes. Roger Goodell isn't he most popular head honcho of the league we have ever had, but being the world's number one sport's commissioner is going to get a lot of criticism. The NFL is basically its own country and Goodell is our current president who has to work with the senate(NFLPA) and the house(the owners), so at least there is diplomacy and he is not responsible for all of the blame or praise.
There has been and is time and money being spent on pushing for the league to become world wide, but I think that could be decades away. Minnesota is scheduled to play in London next year, missing out on a home game. That will be more useful and tolerated by fans that feel their team is put in an unfavorable situation playing overseas, when the Metrodome is actually being demolished and will be not truly playing at home until the new stadium is complete. I think the league needs and should expand, but I would focus on this hemisphere for now, as Canada is a lot more idealistic for breaking outside of the United States for where the league is at right now in time.
I have my own idea of changes I felt should have been implemented some time ago, as well as some new ideas. I am mainly just going to focus on the inevitable 18 game schedule being put into place. This topic has been the subject of a lot of talk, as well as scrutiny, as there are so many variables of the season being changed from 16 to 18 games. I think one of the main reasons it hasn't already happened is because of the revelations to the entire world of the long term effect of concussions are having, and have been having on former players. They are taking better and more measures to limit and reduce the damage that has been and being done. There needs to be as much done to protected players, because the threat of taking away the important aspects of the game is real.
It will happen, whether you are for or against it. I feel there should be other things put in place to go along with it as well though. What we are really talking about is extending the season to increase profits. Most do want a longer season, but do not want to compromise the health of the players even more. Those for, talk about adding another bye week as to alleviate the strain. I believe there already needs to be another bye week added right now with the current amount of games being played; that gives the league another week of profits and the fans another week of football.
When the eventual 18 game schedule is unveiled, I believe there has to be a total of three bye weeks throughout the regular season. I also recognize the timing factor, and think instead of the week after Labor Day for the starting point, that Labor Day should be embraced as kick off week end. Also, of course two of the preseason games will be eliminated. Though, there is always two teams that play an extra preseason game in the Hall of Fame game and I have not noticed any effect on any of the teams that ever do. With the change, the HOF game should remain the first weekend of August, but there be a week and a half in between the two preseason games.There are always locally televised scrimmages between teams that don't count as preseason games, and think that should get taken advantage of with the preseason games being reduced from four to two. This can allow the overall length of the preseason to not be reduced much or at all. It will also help remedy the reduction of preseason games that unproven guys use to showcase why they should be retained on their respected teams. Being able to keep more players on the team will make the evaluation process a little less difficult.
I think all would agree there would have to be an increase to the number of players on team's rosters; I think a minimum number to start with is five more players and one or two more added to the practices squads as well. The NFL is being more lenient with reserved/injured players, with allowing one player to be able to come back later in the season; this will also need to be increased by one, if not two players.
I think they might push the trade deadline back another week, but do not feel teams in today's NFL are too much worried about that, as by the time it is now; they are committed to the roster they have in place at that point.
Implementing basically a seven month season would make for a much busier off season as well. When free agency would start, will be a good question. Though, I feel however much sooner it will be following the Super Bowl; teams will adjust and be fine, as will the free agents themselves. The entire months of March and April would become more pressing and more interesting to the fans that watch as well. Moving the combine back so that it is still after the Super Bowl should not be a problem, the prospects' performances will be more fresh in everyone's mind, as pro days will be too when the draft takes place
Salary cap will also be a big part of the discussion, but should be kept simple. There are currently 53 players on team's rosters; divide the cap by 53 and multiply it by the agreed roster size, something like 58, if that is the agreed increased size to the rosters with the increased amount of games to the schedule. They will also have to figure in any increases to the practice squads as they, in my opinion, would need to be increased from eight to ten. I notice Minnesota's practice squad is a revolving door with a couple of players, so as to keep them somewhat available while staying within the NFL guidelines. So, I think at least with the Vikings, they would take full advantage of an increased number of practice squad players.
Increasing the size of the the schedule with the season starting on Labor Day would push the Super Bowl to the third or fourth weekend of February. Though, eventually with an 18 game schedule in place, they may want to start the season a week before Labor Day, as I think the NFL is targeting the third weekend of February. I have heard this before at least a couple of times. I, personally would be fine with Labor Day kicking off the season and the Super Bowl being on the fourth weekend of February.
Many players and fans do not want this, though, there are many that do and a lot of them are the owners. With that being said, I think somewhere between five and ten years, we will see this happen. I think I have some okay ideas, and think others have okay ideas too, and hopefully we will hear better ones that would make an 18 game schedule not just work, but be better than the current 16 game schedule.