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An 18 game schedule is really dumb

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Just another bad idea in the Roger ‘Bud Selig’ Goodell era

NFL: Super Bowl LIII-NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Press Conference Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re not aware, the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the union that represents players, are having preliminary talks to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The current CBA runs out at the end of the 2020 season, and with the history of acrimony between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the players, and NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith, a lot of people (myself included) feel a strike or lockout is a real possibility.

But, some good news on that front. The league and the player’s union will be entering into three consecutive days of talks, beginning today, in an attempt to hammer out a new agreement and prevent a work stoppage.

One of the things that has been floated by the NFL was moving to an 18 game regular season schedule, but restricting players to 16 games. In the pantheon of bad sports decisions, this might be the worst. If not the worst, it would definitely make a top 10 list.

I can’t even begin to break down why, but I’m going to try. For one, it basically ruins the competitive playing field for the NFL. As Mike Decourcy said in The Sporting News, it’s an ‘affront to competitive logic that never has been attempted in any major American team sport, and neither in any of the world’s top soccer leagues.’

Theoretically, every game would be compromised from a competitive standpoint, at least to a point, by every team. Some coaches would want to rest their star players early in the season, some would want to rest them late; some in the middle. Some would have no idea what the hell to do. I’m looking at you Matt Patricia.

The mothership said that those two extra games would feel like preseason. It could, depending on how many guys you sit, but I don’t think it would be that bad, although the product would still be diminshed. For example, you could sit Kirk Cousins but not Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen but not Stefon Diggs. Still, though, that puts the Vikings at a tremendous competitive disadvantage, just as it would if the Packers have to sit Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams twice, the Lions having to sit Matthew Stafford and...someone else who is good on their roster twice, or the Bears benching Khalil Mack twice.

But not Mitchell Trubisky, amirite?

And for units that really require practice reps and cohesion to come together and work well, like an offensive line, this is an utterly horrid idea. For fans of the Vikings, this should send a cold shiver down your spine. I’m not a math wizard, but if you stagger the two games for every starter so that no two starters are out for the same game, the regular starting offensive line will play together as a unit exactly...carry the one...find the coefficient of ‘my goodness is this just dumb’...and you have six games, I think. Might be less, could even be a negative number.

And that’s assuming no injuries. Which never, ever happen to Vikings linemen. Or any other team, for that matter.

As a fan, it dilutes the product even more. There is some bad, bad football that’s played week in and week out in the NFL, and having to sit two players, to include your marquee guys, makes this problem even more pronounced. Combine it with the ridiculously bad officiating that we see in every game, every week, it feels like a recipe for a product that would be unwatchable.

And I want to watch the stars play. This season, the Vikings play in Kansas City. I’m seriously thinking about getting tickets and making the drive to see them play in person. What if that was the week the Vikes sat Dalvin Cook, or Harrison Smith, or the Chiefs sat Patrick Mahomes?

70,000+ fans didn’t come to watch Chad Henne, they came to watch Patrick Mahomes light it up, although I would be more than content with watching Henne throw for a buck fifty and three picks. That’s not really the point, though. Sitting Mahomes for two games gives the KC opponents a tremendous competitive advantage, one that the other 16 teams they play don’t get.

And seriously, you need to sit kickers, punters, and long snappers twice? That just seems really stupid.

For the NFL, this is just naked money grab, because I guess the NFL can’t have too much of that. If this were to somehow be agreed to, there would probably be two less pre-season games, which hurts guys trying to make the back end of the roster.

The counter to that is that you would almost have to certainly increase the rosters from 53 players to...let’s just say 60 for arguments sake. But to counter THAT, you now have six or seven guys on a roster that normally would be on the practice squad or not even in the NFL, and the product that has made the NFL the Goliath in American Sports is diluted even more.

I don’t want to see a work stoppage, but I don’t want to see this become part of the NFL landscape, either.

I do want to see a new commissioner, though.

Poll

Do you like the idea of an 18 game schedule, with no player playing in more than 16 games?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Yes
    (139 votes)
  • 90%
    No
    (1278 votes)
1417 votes total Vote Now