As a die-hard football (Dolphins, obviously) fan, I have seriously started to consider the pros and cons of an 18 Game NFL Season. Sure, in the long run, it really doesn't have that much of an effect on us, the fans. However, how would the addition of an extended season play out? I know I for one would love to be able to attend more games, but at what cost? Would owners raise ticket prices as a result of more meaningful action?
Since this February, talk has gotten more serious between the NFL & union officials about the possibility of extending the NFL Regular Season to 18 games. While there would still be a total of 20 exhibition plus regular-season games under the proposal, the league would likely go from four in the preseason and 16 in the regular season to two and 18.
Debate has picked up this past month, especially during annual meetings, concerning the matter of extension. Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy has already said that it's an "idea that is really gaining momentum, particularly with the owners." However, this comment is expected, as the owners are running a business, and would generate more money by an expanded regular season.
More games counting for the regular season also likely means more expensive season tickets and parking passes, and an additional home game to generate merchandise, advertising, and concession sales. Also, it means two more possible victories in the win column, and, as many fans have seen in the past, the value of just one win can make a dramatic impact on a team's season (see 2007 Miami Dolphins). That being said, not everyone is sold on the idea of a 18-game season.
Just as the owners have commented on the situation, current NFL stars, such as Tom "Lady" Brady and Ray Lewis, have also had their say, expressing concerns that such a change would increase injuries to players. While this makes sense, as more games equals more time on the field, it also raises the point of how much time is too little time to prepare. In terms of changing two preseason games to regular games, how will coaches respond?
Will training camp need to start earlier, in order to make up for the lost evaluation time in the final two games, especially when the third game has often been recognized as the most critical in making final cuts? Will scrimmages become more common, in order to gauge in-game experience? Many more questions will be raised as this issue is contested.
However, an all-too-often overlooked point of view is that of the fans, the same people who spend money on the teams, and who also have complained about the cost and quality of preseason games, when many starters play little. How will more regular season games have an impact on them? Will it be more difficult to invest time and money into a team for two more weeks, or will it have no impact? While this remains to be a hot topic throughout the season, along with the CBA discussions, the NFL will be sure to review the idea.
But, what do you guys think? Should the NFL expand the Regular Season to 18 Games? Would that decision have any negative impact on your fan experience? Or, do you agree with the players that more games means more injuries? Lastly, what would you give for football season to last a little longer, for the Aqua & Orange to hit the turf a little earlier in the year, making the dreaded off-season a little less dreadful?
Goodell has stated that the expanded season will also include at least one and possibly two additional bye weeks. He also stated that the rosters would be expanded and at least a couple of GM’s have stated that they are also possibly looking in to the possibility of a “feeder” league to address injury’s. - (credit to Texascowpunk)
P.S. This is my first post, but I've been an avid reader since the 2008 offseason (whatever happened to Hall of Fame member HuskerDolphin?). Matty runs an excellent site, and The Phinsider is my first stop for Fins-related news (as I'm sure it is for all of us).