JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The NFL’s 18-game season

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According to a report on SI.com this morning, the idea of an 18-game season is gaining traction with NFL owners.

Of course it is.

An 18-game season means more money. Much more money. Concessions, yes. But primarily television. Because while pre-season games are nice and dandy, they draw crap ratings. Regular-season games are, obviously, through the roof.

It is, of course, a terrible idea for the players. T-e-r-r-i-b-l-e. How many more injuries will we be looking at? Not merely from the physicality of two extra games, but from the elongated deterioration of a body over the course of a season? It’s one thing to have your ass kicked for 16 weeks—another to have your ass kicked for 18. That’s an enormous difference, especially when you’re used to have a certain X-month recovery period.

Hence, if I’m the Players Association, I do one of two things:

A. I completely reject the idea.

B. I say, “OK, you want 18 games—we want fully guaranteed contracts.”

I’m being serious. If the owners are so adamant about 18 games being good for the league, they should also be adamant about their players having protections. Right now, if a guy signs a six-year, $70 million contract, well, it’s bogus. The numbers are wonderful for the ego, but reality says any time the team wants to release said player, he’s gone—and so is the money.

Eighteen games? Give us full protection.

Or no deal.