The hot topic of the past week has been an expanded schedule and what the owners and players think about it.
I think the majority of us agree that the NFL eventually will move to an 18-game regular season schedule, probably when the owners and the NFL Players Association negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. In order for that to happen, the owners likely will have to give concessions to the players based on, perhaps, expanded health care or, more likely, a stricter set of standards regarding contact during off-season and in-season practices.
The 18-game schedule simply makes too much sense for the owners and for the fans, and despite the players’ objections now – I haven’t talked to or heard from a player who says they’re in favor of it (if I’m missing somebody, let me know) – they’ll eventually agree to the new idea.
But the National Football Post’s Matt Bowen – who played seven seasons for four teams – brings up a good point. What about the fringe players who need the extra two preseason games to show why they should fill one of the final spots on a 53-man roster? What about the preseason evaluation process?
From his story:
The reason I bring this up is because of my own experience and from seeing rookies and older veterans scratch and claw to make that final cut. They need the time and they need the opportunities. Yes, they may not make that exact club’s final roster, but if they can make a play or two on special teams, show the ability to play within the basic schemes in the fourth quarter of preseason games and — hopefully — show enough potential on tape, then they may catch on somewhere else at some point in the regular season.
One solution to combat this issue perhaps is to expand the rosters. One solution, as discussed by Packers president Mark Murphy, is to erect a developmental league. One solution is to forget about the idea of 18 games altogether.
While the minute details of the CBA negotiations might be boring – if the two sides ever begin to negotiate for real – I’ll be interested to see exactly how an 18-game schedule will work and what the owners will give to the players in return.
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