18-game NFL season? Ouch

The NFL season is the shortest of all the professional sports leagues, and for good reason; it is the most brutal sport by far. Currently, the NFL season is 17 weeks long with each team playing 16 games with one week off? In addition to the 16 game season, each team plays four preseason games, where the starters play very little for each team.

 Recently, the NFL has toyed with the idea of installing a new 18 game regular season that has just two preseason games because they believe that the preseason drags on and fans get tired of it. The NFL is already making a lot of money from revenue, but they believe that they can make a significant amount more money in an 18-game season.

Though every fan wants to see more football and see their team’s starters play in games that count, this is not a good idea for the players. In a league that is so adamant players that players be cautious after a concussion, it is surprising that they would push an 18-game season on the players. Already, quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and Jay Cutler have had to miss games because they got concussions the week before. Fans would see even more concussions and players missing significant time due to other injuries if the season was expanded for two more games. The players are so big and so fast that the season needs to be short because of the beating taken by players week in and week out. The NFL has been talking as if this is a done deal recently, but they aren’t sure when this will be installed.

Several players and former players have spoken out against this idea. Notably Steelers receiver Hines Ward and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning have expressed their displeasure with this idea. Both are veterans and know how their bodies feel week after week, season after season.  Ward believes that an 18 game season will shorten careers. He said that every year, his body is just one big bruise by the 13th game, and he can’t imagine what it would feel like during the 18th game of the season. I agree with Ward that careers would definitely be shorter. It is such a violent game that each additional game adds a risk of injury. And with players already banged up, the risk of injury increases even more.

Manning is more concerned with the shortened preparation time for his team. He says the training camp and four preseason games are necessary for his team to click in the first week of the season. The quality of play could go down in the season with 18 games. The games would be sloppier because the teams are not as prepared at the start of the season. Also, the end of the season could have more no name players because of the additional injuries. I think the games would not be as good with the two additional games.

This 18 game season would be good for fans who want more football and of course for the NFL to make more money, but it would be bad for the players. The health of the players is what is most important and the cons of an 18-game season outweigh the pros greatly.

Sometimes change is good, but in this instance, change could cause a lot of pain.