NFL Owners Push for 18-Game Season Despite Hurdles

NFL Roger Goodell 18-game
NFL team owners are solidly behind Commissioner Roger Goodell‘s push for an 18-game regular season, with plans potentially underway to reopen discussions with the players’ union well before the current collective bargaining agreement expires in 2030.

This move, according to five sources familiar with the NFL’s operations and the owners’ stance, reflects a desire for significant changes in the league’s structure.

While formal talks with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) have yet to begin, there’s been ongoing internal dialogue among some owners and league officials for months. Goodell recently vocalized his support for an 18-game season in a televised interview.

Under this proposed change, the regular season would expand to 18 games while the preseason would shrink from three games per team to two. Teams might also see an additional bye week during the regular season, potentially altering the timing of the Super Bowl to Presidents’ Day weekend annually.

Such adjustments could prompt a redesign of the offseason schedule, possibly featuring key events like the NFL combine, free agency, and the draft spread across different months.

The push for an 18-game season isn’t new; owners have pursued it since the 2011 labor negotiations, eventually settling for a 17-game season in the 2020 CBA. However, the current CBA explicitly prohibits expanding the regular season to 18 games without agreement from the players’ union, leaving the league and owners in need of convincing the NFLPA to endorse such a change.

There’s optimism among some players that the owners will present a proposal within the next 12 to 18 months, driven by influential figures like Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft, who see potential benefits for broadcast partners. Nevertheless, how the NFLPA will respond remains uncertain, especially considering past objections to an 18-game season on player safety grounds.

Despite potential concerns, some sources suggest that advancements in safety measures, along with increased revenue sharing under the salary cap system, could help alleviate player apprehensions. However, any negotiations would require careful consideration of various factors, including offseason practices, hitting regulations, and the overall structure of the season.

In summary, while NFL owners are keen on an 18-game season, achieving consensus with the players’ union remains a significant hurdle, with both sides needing to address concerns surrounding player safety and logistical challenges.

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