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Should the NFL season be longer?

As we enter the dog days of summer, NFL fans are getting antsy anticipating the beginning of the next season, and wondering where their next football fix will come from. With that in mind, should the NFL consider expanding it's season?


There are many, many reasons that the NFL is the undisputed king of American sports culture: entertainment value, drama, etc. But there are also more specific reasons such as a limited season that makes it easy to follow.

The NBA, MLB and NHL all have seasons over 60 games long and games are played nearly every night of the week. The beauty of the NFL is that with 16 games and the majority of them played on Sunday, with only two others played Monday and Thursday nights (other than a holiday like Thanksgiving), it makes it easy for someone to be able to catch every single game.

Furthermore, the whole in-game season is roughly six months long (Sept.-Feb.) which makes it even easier for a person who is not a hardcore sports fan to follow along casually.

However, the NFL is always looking to expand its brand (and profits) and that came to a head during the last round of CBA negotiations in 2011.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell proposed expanding the regular season by two games and eliminating two preseason games.

The measure was met with rebuff from the NFLPA, many in the media and many fans as well.

However, as recently as May of this year, Goodell still hasn't ruled out adding two games to the regular season. quotes Goodell as saying

"As I have said before, I think the structure of the season is something that we consistently reevaluate. I have been quite open about [indicating that] we have to address the quality of the preseason. I hear from fans consistently that they want to make every NFL event more valuable. They see the preseason as being less valuable to them because they don’t see the best players and the games do not count. We have to address that, whether we are looking at 18 [regular-season games] and two [preseason games] or 16-and-two and expanded playoffs. They are all on the table and things we are going to evaluate."

That's mostly a valid point; season ticket holders HATE having to shell out regular season prices to watch players who won't make an active roster run around in the 4th preseason game. Personally, I believe the NFL would be better served to turn preseason games into something more like the Bears' Family Fest.

Have teams play the preseason games, but do not charge regular season prices (Absurd, you say, but hear me out), nor make the preseason games mandatory for season-ticket holders and instead charge maybe $10-$75 for tickets (nosebleeds-50 yard line 100-level, respectively) and have family friendly activities and mandatory team autograph sessions. That way you can attract blue collar and middle class families that cannot afford regular season prices and add a level of fan interaction that will entice people to stomach watching future CFL prospects play two quarters.

However, back to the debate at hand. Would 18 games be such a bad thing? The injury bug is the biggest thing cited as a con, but however severe injuries are freak, non-contact injuries to begin with? Many ACL tears are a result of an awkward plant or landing funny more than hard contact.

Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw laid out the pro-18 game argument after Goodell's latest remarks:

Normally, starters play a quarter, maybe a quarter and a half in those early preseason games. So for most players, we might be talking about an additional five quarters of football in turning the season into 18 games.

It’s not much more than a college conference adding a championship game for those teams that play in it.

And another argument:

The NFLPA has been against the 18-game schedule, but I’m not totally sure that makes sense. To agree to the schedule, players would negotiate a salary increase. Revenues would go up with TV contracts on the rise for more games. Thus, the league’s cap goes up and salaries continue to rise.

As it stands, players put themselves at risk in four preseason games, at least for the time that they do play and just because it’s not always the starters out there doesn’t mean the NFLPA shouldn’t care about what happens to those players. And even the game’s superstars are performing for minimal pay in August while the owners charge fans regular-season prices.

At the end of the day, would two more regular season games really be met with despise from the fans? I know I would enjoy a couple more NFL regular season games. Especially if there was an extra bye week, expanded rosters and more money for the players and teams. Football fanatics would rejoice.

What do you think, should the NFL season be longer? And make sure you explain why or why not.

More from WCG:

Three reasons training camp needs to happen now

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Who is on your NFC North All-Pro team?