League owners are reportedly meeting today in Atlanta, with expanding the schedule to 18 games being among the major topics of discussion. According to ESPN a formal vote will happen sometime this afternoon, and would affect the 2012 season.
According to most reports the majority of owners are behind the move, however it would still require the approval of the NFL Players Association. Most player reps are against the move due to the physical pounding that their bodies take over the course of a 16-game season, and asking them to play an additional two meaningful games at the same intensity level has most turned off to the idea.
John Clayton of ESPN.com had an interesting article this afternoon pointing out that an NFL game usually results in 2½ injuries per team, which means if those numbers are accurate the injury attrition rate could be a problem. Clayton does point out that the move would only be positive if it helped bring a guarantee that there will be a labor agreement in place and secure that there won’t be a lockout next season. Clearly a lockout wouldn’t be good for either side, and if the two can reach an agreement hopefully it will mean football next year – albeit it appears that the end results appear to be a 21 game season from start to finish in 2012.
Clayton also points out that the league still doesn’t plan on starting the season until after Labor Day, which means the season would run into the third week of February.
I’m all for more football, although I wonder how it would affect coaches abilities to evaluate talent with only having two live games to judge them under. Personally if that occurs I see more joint practices like we saw here in New England, and a change in structure to how Training Camp is conducted.
Needless to say it’s looking more like a reality. More revenue usually makes it easier to appease anyone who doesn’t necessarily agree with them – and hopefully the owners can find a reasonable compromise to make both sides happy. Otherwise the additional games certainly will take a while to make up for a lack of a 2011 season, and that won’t make anyone, including the fans, any happier.