It has long been rumored that Roger Goodell would like to move the NFL to an 18 game regular season schedule at some point. This would likely have to be negotiated in the new collective bargaining agreement that will be drawn up sometime soon. It seems as if the movement to an 18 game schedule really picked up steam as Goodell has now gone on the record of saying that 4 preseason games are unnecessary. If this does lead it a 2 game preseason and 18 game regular season it would be a horrible, short sighted idea.
Football is a gruesomely physical sport. I’m pretty sure it would only take one Ray Lewis tackle for me to call it quits, yet these guys take this kind of physical torment play after play. The unfortunate side effect of these great athletes violently throwing their body around is injuries. A quick look at the injury report from Week 17 games last year shows Wes Welker, Chad Henne, Charles Woodson, Anquan Boldin, and Chad Ochocinco all suffered various injuries. Football just is a physical sport and the longer you play, the more likely you are to become injuried.
While players would still only be playing 20 games like they did before, they are now playing 2 more games where starters will play from beginning to end. That’s two more games of violent hits for an entire sixty minutes. That, ultimately, means even more injuries. Imagine the playoffs last year without Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. It just wouldn’t be the same. There’s no guarantee that star players will get hurt, but the likelihood increases with every extra game and will ultimately create an inferior product come the playoffs.
If Goodell wants to chase a few extra dollars for the league by adding two regular season games he can go for it. Certainly it will increase revenue as teams will be able to charge more for regular season packages with the extra games. However, if Goodell cares even the slightest bit about the quality of product his league puts on the field he will quickly squash the idea of an 18 game regular season.