The negotiations between the NFL and the players association continued Wednesday in Washington D.C., but at least one sticking point still remains--the players won't play 18 games. NFLPA president De Smith reiterated as much Wednesday night, as Sports Illustrated reports:
"First of all, the league has never presented a formal proposal for 18 games. But more importantly, it's something that our players don't want. Eighteen games is not in the best interest of our players' safety, so we're not doing it."
As the league and players jockey for leverage in revenue sharing debates, it seemed like the players might be forced to cave on this one. But even as the deadline looms without a deal in sight, it looks like the union's going to stay firm and save us from 18-games.
As if the awesome fedora in the photo above wasn't enough reason for us to take De Smith seriously, here's another reminder that the NFLPA is in good hands. They're not lying down here.
You might hear all this and ask, "Hey, what's wrong with more football?" and... That's exactly what Roger Goodell is thinking, too. More football means more money, more insane ratings, and in Goodell's eyes, more fun for football fans. But more football also means more injuries, and with a regular season that already seems like a war of attrition sometimes, 18 regular season games would just take things to a whole 'nother level.
Best case scenario, the loss of two preseason games (which become regular season games) just means that teams start the year rusty, using September as a sort of "second preseason". That, and we'd obviously see more injuries with two extra games.
'Course, there's also the worst case scenario, where the NFL turns into the EPL, the English soccer league that plays an interminable season, where star players rest against weaker opponents to prevent wear and tear. And that's okay; it works for them, and the EPL is still great. But do we really want to see Bill Belichick start Brian Hoyer over Tom Brady for three-games-a-year to help keep him fresh and healthy for the playoffs? Maybe it adds a new wrinkle for master strategists like Belichick, but to me, it just seems like we'd be watering down a regular season that's just about perfect as it is.
The truth about an 18-game schedule is this: More of a good thing isn't always that great. Sometimes, "more" becomes "too much", and the "good thing" becomes a problem of its own.