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 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality 
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Post 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
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ATLANTA -- NFL owners are eager to increase the regular season from 16 to 18 games.

The players aren't so sure.

During a five-hour meeting at a posh hotel in downtown Atlanta, the push to add two more games to the regular season picked up steam Wednesday -- at least among those who sign the checks.

"I think it's a win-win all around," said Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots.

The owners also unanimously approved Stan Kroenke's proposal to purchase majority ownership of the St. Louis Rams, assuming he turns over control of two other teams he owns -- the NBA's Denver Nuggets and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche -- to his son.

Kroenke owns 40 percent of the downtrodden Rams and exercised his right to purchase the rest of the team from the Rosenbloom family for a reported $750 million.

"Obviously, all of us know and respect Stan," commissioner Roger Goodell said. "He's been a terrific owner in the NFL and we're confident he will continue to be a great owner."

Kroenke must turn over operational and financial control of the Nuggets and Avalanche to his 30-year-old son, Josh, by the end of the year. He must give up his majority stake in the teams by December 2014 to meet NFL rules against cross-ownership of franchises in other NFL cities.

But talks on the expanded season dominated most of the meeting.

Goodell pointed out that the league already has the right to impose an 18-game schedule -- and keep four preseason games for each team -- under the current labor agreement with the players. But that contract expires after this season, and it's clear the expanded schedule will be a central issue in talks on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The owners would like to keep the season at 20 weeks, reducing the number of preseason games from four to two.

"We want to do it the right way for everyone, including the players, the fans and the game in general," Goodell said. "There's a tremendous amount of momentum for it. We think it's the right step."

The owners held off on voting on a specific proposal that could be presented to the players union. Among the issues that still must be resolved: when to start the expanded regular season, possible roster expansion to cope with more games and changes in training camp and offseason routines to come up with ways for evaluating younger players who wouldn't have as many preseason games to make an impression.

"We want to continue to address a variety of issues before putting together a specific proposal, which our negotiating team will provide to the union's negotiating team," Goodell said. "There's tremendous support for it. Almost all the questions, all the discussions, are how to do it in a way that's fan-friendly."

Around the NFL, however, many players questioned the wisdom of making an already grueling season even longer. At the very least, they want more money -- and several proposed changes in the rules governing injured players or adding an extra bye week to deal with the grind.

"With 16 games, every game is important and therefore the fans are very into it, the stadiums are packed because they know if their team loses, it pushes them further and further away from making the playoffs," Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer said. "I think if you go to 18, each game kind of loses a little bit of its significance."

The players clearly expect to be receive a bigger chunk of the multibillion-dollar NFL pie if they're going to be putting their bodies on the line in two more games that count.

"Obviously the players want to be compensated for two more games," San Francisco 49ers linebacker Matt Wilhelm said. "That's the one thing the players have to get met."

They are also concerned about an increased risk of injuries and fret that it could shorten their careers or increase the number of health problems they endure after retirement.

"I would vote to eliminate two preseason games and then keep it at a 16-game season because the longer you're out there playing, the more your body breaks down," Chicago Bears tight end Desmond Clark said. "When you get into December, you're like walking zombies. You can't feel your joints."

Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita said the timing of the proposal is odd, considering the owners want the players to accept a smaller share of the revenue in the next labor agreement.

"They are asking you to play more games and put yourself at more risk, and they are also asking us to take a pay cut," he said. "That's a lot to ask. All those things don't make a whole lot of sense. We need to sit down and talk through it all and find out what it is they're really trying to do and see if it makes sense or not."

But Kraft said the expanded season is the most obvious step to bring in more money while the economy is struggling.

"I really think going to an 18-game season is critical to us getting a labor deal," he said. "There's not a lot ways in this economic environment we can generate incremental revenues. That's the best way.

"The other thing," he added, "our fans have said pretty loud and clear they'd like us to have fewer preseason games."

Several players and coaches have pointed out that having only two preseason games would likely make it more difficult for fringe players to get enough of a look to make the team.

Already, teams have been experimenting with joint workouts in training camp, believing those sessions could help replace the shorter preseason. This year, for instance, the Atlanta Falcons worked out with both the Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars.

"If it was a two-game preseason, then the starters are going to see most of that time because they've got to get ready for the season, so if you're third string, good luck," said Indianapolis linebacker Gary Brackett, the Colts' defensive captain. "When I was a rookie, I needed every bit of those four games."

But some figure it's a foregone conclusion that the owners will get their way.

"Personally, I don't see how it helps the game, or the quality of the game," said Barry Cofield, a defensive tackle for the New York Giants. "But if they demand it, they will probably get it."



I don't like the idea of an 18 game regular season. I think the current format is fine. I actually like the 4 preseason games because it gives you ample opportunity to watch the bubble guys. Does this mean that if they scrap two preseason games training camp is going to be shorter? Or does it stay the same without playing 2 games.

I'd love for football games to be year round. The off season is great for prognosticator's like you and me, but once OTA's start after the draft I start to get excited. I'm damn near giddy right now about the season. Sorry if a mental picture of Wayne Fontes giddy made anyone lose their breakfast.

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August 26th, 2010, 10:30 am
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
PFT wrote:
In exchange for 18-game season, some players want to change offseason schedule
Posted by Mike Florio on August 26, 2010 9:59 AM ET

There's a sense of inevitability regarding the "enhancement" of the regular season from 16 to 18 games. And apart from the increased money that will be paid to players for increasing their annual game workload by more than 10 percent (recognizing that their non-game game workload also would be cut in half), we've picked up some details regarding some of the things that some players likely will want.

Per a league source, players want to use an Enzyte'd football season as a catalyst for revising the current schedule of offseason exercise sessions and practices.

The idea currently making the rounds involves shutting down all football activities until May 15. At that point, the players would convene for strength, conditioning, meetings, and practices sans pads. The process would continue up until the traditional launch of training camp, with a week or two off in and around the July 4 holiday.

There are a couple of potential problems with this approach. For starters, coaches like the current schedule, not just because it gives the teams plenty of offseason access to players, but because it provides coaches with a full month to shut down and get away before the training-camp grind begins. Even if the players won't be showing up until the middle of May, coaches will be grinding in February, March, and April, due to free agency and the draft. Thus, the new schedule would reduce the coaches' vacation time.

Also, a system of continuous workouts with only a short break between offseason and preseason could prompt agents to begin to insist on rookie deals being negotiated before the offseason program begins. Currently, most rookies will participate in the offseason program without being under contract; absent a one-month buffer, that could change.

We're also told that players hope to place significant restrictions on the hours they spend at the facility during offseason workouts. In some cities, the day begins at 7:00 a.m. and ends at 4:00 p.m. That's a huge commitment when the only compensation (apart from workout bonuses) is a per diem.

The good news for players is that Commissioner Roger Goodell already seems to be willing to entertain changes to the offseason program. In June, Goodell acknowledge that "we're going to have to have some guidelines and restrictions on what can be done and can't be done in the offseason."

So apart from the money (unless Brett Favre is on the union's Executive Committee, at which point it won't be about money), any enhancement to the regular season likely will result in meaningful changes to an offseason that currently makes pro football a full-time, 10-month-per-year profession.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... -schedule/

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August 26th, 2010, 11:03 am
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
No it's not.

Just because the owners like it (because of the obvious increase in profit), Goodell has already said he must have the players buy into it first. So far, the players hate this more than anyone could imagine.

Would you work for free? That's what the owners are asking the players to do. Salaries stay the same, training camp starts earlier, more games that they must give 100% in, more chances to get hurt, etc.

Why would the players go for this?

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August 26th, 2010, 11:35 am
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
conversion02 wrote:
No it's not.

Just because the owners like it (because of the obvious increase in profit), Goodell has already said he must have the players buy into it first. So far, the players hate this more than anyone could imagine.

Would you work for free? That's what the owners are asking the players to do. Salaries stay the same, training camp starts earlier, more games that they must give 100% in, more chances to get hurt, etc.

Why would the players go for this?


The players already make an obscene amount of money to play a game. That being said, I thought it was already a given that player's salaries would be going up because of the addition of 2 more games
Quote:
And apart from the increased money that will be paid to players for increasing their annual game workload by more than 10 percent


Why would the players go for it?

Simple, its called negotiations.

In the end, I think they'll probably end up with a 17-game regular season, 3-game preseason and a shortened/lightened off-season schedule.
The NFLPA cut will be about the same percentage as it is now but they will be bringing in more money (that will hopefully start going to the retired players).
There will be a rookie-wage scale similar to the NBA slotting system (if only for 1st rounders - possible only top 10)

Of course, this will all happen after a lockout/strike wipes about the first month of the 2011 season.

EDIT to add: In addition to the "enhanced" season, the rosters sizes will also increase; there will be an additional bye week; the trade deadline will be moved to later in the season; and probably a modification to the IR/injury rules (think DL list of sorts)

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August 26th, 2010, 11:58 am
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
Whether or not there's going to be a work stoppage in '11, the owners still have more power then the NFLPA, that's just how I see it. The players could strike, but that doesn't help their cause all that much; see 1982 and 1987. I think they are going to push it through, regardless of the opposition.

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August 26th, 2010, 12:39 pm
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
Wayne Fontes wrote:
Whether or not there's going to be a work stoppage in '11, the owners still have more power then the NFLPA, that's just how I see it. The players could strike, but that doesn't help their cause all that much; see 1982 and 1987. I think they are going to push it through, regardless of the opposition.

And they always will. Your boss will always have more power than you (unless your you're own boss)

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August 26th, 2010, 2:13 pm
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
The players union has already said it was crap and they didn't like the idea.

So, salary caps must go up if salaries go up. Retirement benefits and other miscellaneous expenses go up. Add up all the little things and see if it really happens next year or the year after. I doubt it. That's a lot to get pushed through before the next CBA.

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August 26th, 2010, 2:41 pm
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
I don't like 18 games...

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August 26th, 2010, 2:41 pm
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
steensn wrote:
I don't like 18 games...


I agree and disagree in a sense. I like the idea of 18 games but I don't like the possibility of shortening careers (potentially by years) just to play 2 extra games in a season. I like the idea of 18 games but I don't know that I'm in favor of it.

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August 26th, 2010, 2:48 pm
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
Footsoldier32 wrote:
steensn wrote:
I don't like 18 games...


I agree and disagree in a sense. I like the idea of 18 games but I don't like the possibility of shortening careers (potentially by years) just to play 2 extra games in a season. I like the idea of 18 games but I don't know that I'm in favor of it.



Hey the threat of injury is why these guys make MASSIVE amounts of money. More quality football is NEVER a bad thing!

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August 26th, 2010, 2:51 pm
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
I'm on the fence on this one. I get the sense that the season will become too diluted, we are already complaining about teams packing it in at the end of the season already. Can you imagine what it would be like when we were 0-16 and we had to play two more games or if you're 14-0 and you sit your starters for the next four weeks. I'm not sure if they can keep it competetive enough to expand it to a 18 game schedule.

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Last edited by grgrundge on August 26th, 2010, 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.



August 26th, 2010, 3:50 pm
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
I just see guys having shorter careers, more money, more money EARLY before they have proven anything...etc.

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August 26th, 2010, 5:29 pm
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
steensn wrote:
I just see guys having shorter careers, more money, more money EARLY before they have proven anything...etc.


I disagree to an extent, and instead see it as teams having 3rd and even 4th strings for many positions and across a single season, second string players will get nearly as much PT as first stringers. Thus, diluting the value of individual players even further, and eroding the "superstar" status some players have.


August 27th, 2010, 4:06 am
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
The easy solution to this is something that neither side will ever agree to. Take less. The owners can easily reduce ticket prices for the preseason games and the players can get paid less. It's just ridiculous that they ask fans to pay full price for less than half of the normal product. If they are going to offer hamburgers they can't charge filet mignon prices and expect the fans to be happy. As far as 18 games go they are just going to water down the product by increasing rosters and forcing lesser talent to be on the field for more snaps.


August 27th, 2010, 6:36 am
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Post Re: 18 Game Season, soon to be a reality
conversion02 wrote:
No it's not.

Just because the owners like it (because of the obvious increase in profit), Goodell has already said he must have the players buy into it first. So far, the players hate this more than anyone could imagine.

Would you work for free? That's what the owners are asking the players to do. Salaries stay the same, training camp starts earlier, more games that they must give 100% in, more chances to get hurt, etc.

Why would the players go for this?


Where on Earth did you hear that the players would be playing the additional 2 games for free?

Everything I have heard is that Whatever they are being paid for each weeks game, they would get 2 more checks at that same rate. No-one expects the players to play for free.


August 27th, 2010, 12:01 pm
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