At first look, it is a Lebron-sized slam-dunk for the average football fan. The NFL is considering expanding the regular season to a potential 17 or 18 regular season games beginning as early as the 2011 season. Sweet!! More football to watch and wager on and an extra long fantasy football season! The season-ticket holder pays for one less pre-season game and gets more bang for the buck. The bridge from the barren and boring sports month of February to the madness of March is shortened. It’s a no-brainer, right?
While most football fans would answer with a resounding YES, I beg to differ.
Is there such a thing as too much football or a watered-down NFL?
My opinion (most likely a minority one) is SURE. I think the NFL season is perfect at 16 games. There is no reason to add additional games at this point. Six division games, 6 additional conference games and 4 inter-conference games fit the regular-season schedule like a glove. The old motto, “If it ain’t broke…”
We all know the NFL is a brutal league. These guys beat the snot out of one another week in and week out. They hide injuries in order to abide by the macho code silently upheld by their peers. And they play with injuries that would otherwise have you and me crying for our mommies and calling out of work for a week or two. By Week 10 most of the league is playing with one arm or on one leg.
So imagine adding two additional games to the schedule? It’s just not right. It is already bad enough that there are so many season-ending injuries to the league’s premier players. I have had my fill of the Tyler Thigpens, Kyle Ortons, Gus Frerottes for three –quarters of the season. I do not need more QBs, or any other position for that matter, going down with season ending injuries. What would Brian Westbrook look like in Week 18?
Is this not the same league that just this week sold us new rules, designed to target player safety? (I could go off on a tangent here about how silly these new rules are, but I will save you from the pain of another 20 minutes of reading) It’s a major contradiction in my opinion.
More games will undoubtedly lead to more injuries, which will inevitably lead to more guys in the league who do not belong, most likely practice squad players. The talent pool will eventually be diluted. Go out and get your Justin Roland and Therrian Fontenot jerseys Eagles fans! Not to mention, the NFL Players Union would probably negotiate an increase in roster limits – even more water for the sugar.
Part of the schedule expansion appears to also include league expansion. No, not more teams. But travel to other countries in order to promote the league abroad. Again, I am a major opponent. How difficult is it for a team to game-plan in the NFL with a full 6 days between games? You hear of coaches sleeping in their offices Monday through Friday. Now imagine the rigors of adding a road trip to Europe or Asia mid-season? To me it’s stupid. The sport has been thriving here for years. Why the need to go international? Keep those commies and soccer zealots away! It’s our sport!!
Obviously, we all know the answer to that question. As Wu-Tang Clan proclaim, “Cash Rules Everything Around Me…” And that’s fine. I am a capitalist too. I sold lemonade as a kid. But I think the league needs to be very careful here not to damage what they have. The NFL already has a sweet product. They do not want to start selling watered-down lemonade.