NFL Regular season expansion - A troubled concept

NFL Browns Stadium

The NFL regular season currently consists of 16 games, a system that has been in place since the 1978 season when the league decided to expand to 16 from the previous figure of 14.

With the increased popularity of the NFL around the world and the ever-increasing sponsorship money in the sport there have been calls to extend further and introduce a 17th and 18th game.

Many people will see this as a positive step because fans will get to see more of their team in competitive action instead of four meaningless preseason games.

There are a number of reasons I think this is a bad idea, firstly a number of current players have publicly stated that they wouldn't want to play 18 games a season. Linebacker Bart Scott, then of the New York Jets stated "Are they going to pay me more money?" before going on to say "I'm not up for it"

NFL Players' Association's (NFLPA) assistant executive director George Attalah has also waded into the affair: "I'm concerned about the league's injury data and their plans to proved post-career health care for an enhanced season."

Injuries are without doubt the biggest issue with this potential decision as there have already been an increase in health issues over the past few season, concussion being the main problem. New rules have been brought in to protect players against this but an extra two games might have a detrimental effect on players. This preseason alone there have been a number of instances ligament tears and this will only continue if two extra games are player, players are already stretching their bodies to the limit of their capabilities what will these extra two contests do?

The scope for international games is one other theory behind the plan as they will be able to hold a number of games outside the US without the any of the teams losing one of their eight home games. 

It is yet to be seen if any changes will take place but for now a tried and tested formula is in place, so it's a case of if it ain't broke don't fix it!

image: © daniel erik drost