There's rumblings that the NFL is looking into the possibility of expanding the season by two weeks. This might sound like Christmas coming early, but there's a few good reasons to be wary.
As one perceptive mind puts it, this idea will "blow your damn mind." And yes, the idea of two extra weeks of football gives me a good-sized chubby. Let's look at the unsourced details as reported by the Post:
Among the changes under discussion are playing games on Thursdays and Saturdays for the entire season — not just at the end of the season, and playing at least eight games a year outside the US [ed note: hello, London Jaguars!].
Cramming 32 more games a year into TV schedules will be a challenge — as will deciding whether to cut the pre-game schedule by two or expand the season by two weeks.
This is too good to be true. It will shorten the mid-February sports wasteland. It'll stop teams from forcing you to buy two preseason games in your season ticket package. An extra two weeks plus an off-day means you get to play every other team in your fantasy league twice, evening things out.
So it'd be good for fans. But what about the players? You already hear them complain about the length of the season, so there's no way the NFLPA would let this fly. At least, not without a corresponding increase in salaries across the board, something the owners will never agree to.
For the league, it may not be the best PR move to put their players through additional punishment in the midst of a controversy over concussions. But never mind that; already, the teams that play into January are often the ones that stay healthy. With an 18-week season, no one will stay healthy. And while Jeff Hostetler and Tom Brady may make second-stringers starting in the playoffs seem sexy, it rarely works out so Disney-like.
I also don't think the NCAA is going to like this. The proposal moves games to Saturdays, and could bump the start of the season into prime college football dates before Labor Day. College football's not going to appreciate that competition, and it never pays to piss off a minor-league system that you get for free.
How about money? That's an extra 32 games the league has to put on, which ain't cheap. Some teams are already hurting; 14 franchises lost or didn't gain value last year, and that's before interest or taxes are figured in. Try telling Oakland or Seattle that they've got to play two more weeks, and see how receptive their fans will be to paying more money to cover the costs.
Look, we all want more football. It's God's sport, and we're lucky to have it. But let's not go overboard trying to make a good thing better, especially if we run the risk of making things worse.
Two More NFL Games A Year? Where To Put Them [NY Post]
The NFL Wants To Blow Your Damn Mind [Second-String Fullback]
The Business Of Football, 2009 [Forbes]