While we all sit and wait for the negotiations to between the NFL and the NFLPA to resume on Monday, the rest of us are left without much football to talk about. Normally, the discussion of contracts, free agents and draft prospects keep the buzz alive. For now we are left to here about mediators, the players' union decertifying, antitrust lawsuits, extensions and the CBA.
While there has been progress made on both sides, the topic of an 18-game schedule continues to be a sticking point. The owners are in a situation where basically the only way to increase revenue is to play more games. The players are fighting back because then there are issues of player safety and additional player compensation.
The league has proposed the idea of cutting the preseason by two games and making what would normally be two preparation games to evaluate the players on the rosters two regular season games. That could be good and fine, but I would like to share a pair of ideas for a compromise. Admittedly, they are ideas that I heard from other people, but I thought they were intriguing enough to put out there for you all to decide.
Solution number one: Play 18 games, but shorten game length
One of the issues at hand holding the players back is player safety. The league has been concerned about injuries and players worry about the wear and tear on their bodies. The first idea that could work as a compromise was an idea I heard from Seth Pollack, the regional sports editor for the SB Nation Arizona page.
Instead of playing 15-minute quarters as always has been done, the league could reduce each quarter by two minutes. Over a sixteen game season, that would be 128 game minutes saved. Adding two more games at 52 minutes each would be and additional 104 game minutes. 18 games of 52-minute games would be a few minutes less of playing than 16 games of 60 minutes.
That's less wear and tear and thus, technically less chance for injury.
Obviously this would cause changes, but it might just be worth it. Back in high school, these guys played 12-minute quarters. Colleges would then be playing the longer game.
Likewise, game planning would change and so would statistics dealing single game records.
Would it work? I think so
Solution number 2: Play 18 games, but set a player limit of 16 games played in the regular season
This is an even more radical idea. I heard this from a guy who heard it brought up on the Chuck and Vince show on AM1060. To combat the concerns of playing more games or to avoid changing the length of a game, the league could agree to play 18 games, but make it so that players can only play in 16 of them.
This would put a new value to the importance of players on the bench. You would need every single player on the roster able to make contributions on gameday. This would also create headaches for the coaching staff because resting players would create roster strategy.
Fans might not like that, as they want their teams' best players always playing. On the other hand, it could allow for some development for rookies.
Would either of these actually work? Feel free to share what what you think.
Are either of these ideas worth implementing? Would they do the trick? Would the game be changed too much for you? Would the NFL and NFLPA even agree to it?