mai 27, 2024

Roger Goodell discusses factors for possible 18-game NFL season

2 min read

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell generated headlines when he said the league’s eventual shift to a schedule of 18 regular-season games per team is « not unreasonable. » 

Goodell expanded on those comments at the league meetings in Nashville on Wednesday. 

« The key thing for us is looking at making sure we continue to do the things that make our game safer, » Goodell explained via the NFL’s website. « Seventeen games is a long season, so we want to make sure we look at that and make sure that we continue the safety efforts. »

Per the terms of the collective bargaining agreement that expires in 2031, the NFL Players Association must agree to expand the regular season to 18 or more games. Goodell neither confirmed nor denied that league owners could submit a proposal regarding an 18-game campaign before the 2025 regular-season schedule is released next May. 

« Working with our players association is No. 2, » Goodell continued. « We would reach an agreement with them if we’re going to proceed on that. But also, third, and this is not necessarily in order, is the quality of our game. We would do it in the context of reducing the number of preseason games. »

During his draft-related appearance on « The Pat McAfee Show, » Goodell said that he is « not a fan of the preseason » and would « rather replace a preseason game with a regular-season [game] any day. » He echoed such takes on Wednesday. 

« We think that’s a good trade: less preseason games and more regular-season games, » Goodell told reporters. « I think most anybody would think that was beneficial. » 

The NFLPA is expected to ask the league for two bye weeks per team and larger active rosters, among other things, in return for accepting an 18-game season. Again admitting on Wednesday that owners want to replace preseason games with meaningful contests, Goodell may have unofficially confirmed that the league’s ultimate goal is to reach a format of zero preseason matchups, 20 regular-season games and two bye weeks per team. 

The NFL avoids starting regular seasons on Labor Day weekends but could embrace a different strategy in the future so that expanded campaigns don’t run through late February.

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