Why the NFL’s 18/16 game Schedule won’t work

By Jacob Jensen

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about expanding the NFL regular season. The most recent proposal is an 18 game season, with a 16 game limit for each player. While part of the natural progression of the NFL is making seasons longer, this 18/16 game season is not the way to go. 

The NFL is a business, and businesses are always looking for more ways to bring in revenue and expand. The NFL clearly wants to expand in multiple ways. One way they want to expand is by reaching a larger audience, which they do with their international series. But now they want to expand the regular season by adding two games, but they are faced with a dilemma. They want 18 games, but the NFLPA isn’t having it. So, instead they introduced the 18/16 game season. This means that each team would play 18 games, but each player would need to sit two games. For the Steelers, this means that for two games either Josh Dobbs or Mason Rudolph would have to start. And like many teams starting a backup QB, this is not ideal. 

PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 20: Joshua Dobbs #5 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass against the Atlanta Falcons during a preseason game at Heinz Field on August 20, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

I think that this proposal is just a starting point for negotiations on expanding the regular season, but it makes you think about what a final agreement would look like.  I do not think there is any way the NFL goes with this 18/16 game format, but I do think an expansion is in the NFL’s near future. I think the first step in an expansion is a reduction. I think the NFL will reduce the preseason games from four to two games. Next, I think the NFL will add AT LEAST one more bye week. I think then they will have a 18 game regular season. Right now, a team plays their division rivals twice, every team from the opposite conferences division (rotated every year), and then plays every team from a division in their own conference. Then, for the last two games, the team plays the team in the two divisions in their conference that they haven’t played that finished in the same place in their division. Confusing, right? I think the NFL would have teams play another division in their conference (instead of playing two teams that ranked the same as you). For example, the Pittsburgh Steelers might play their AFC North Rivals twice, then play let’s say the NFC North. Then they would play every team in the AFC East and then every team in the AFC West. Then the next season it would rotate. 

PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 31: Ramon Foster #73 of the Pittsburgh Steelers spikes the ball after a touchdown by Stevan Ridley #38 in the second quarter during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field on December 31, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

A regular season expansion is inevitable. The only thing up for questioning is how it will look like. The one thing I know it won’t look like is the 18/16 game format that the NFL proposed. The NFL is a business and it’s going to keep expanding and expanding as time progresses.

What do you think the future schedule format will look like? Comment below!



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