Much has been made his offseason regarding the 16 game season with 4 preseason games, and the possibility of making an 18 game season. I don't like either scenario, and am proposing my own 17 game season, and it might be more of a radical change than they are wanting to make, but I think at the end of the day it would provide the best product on the field
First things first. If we are going to get player buy-in to increase the season by even 1 game, we are going to have to dangle a carrot and give them something that would get their attention. The first part of my proposal would be to reduce the amount of OTA's (Organized team activities) in the offseason. One thing I always hear players bitch about during offseason workouts and training camps is the two-a-days in the July sun in full pads. Every year without fail someone is hurt, injured, or in some extreme cases, dies during some offseason OTA. I'd reduce the amount of allowable time, to hopefully alleviate some wear and tear on the players bodies.
Second of all, I'd reduce the preseason to two games, one home, and one away. These games would provide more value in player evaluation as they would be in all intents and purposes, meaningful games. Face it, the only games that matter in the preseason now is maybe week 2 and 3. I'm not sure how much evaluation you are able to give an OLB rushing the passer when he is going against a 3rd string tackle and hitting a QB who will be holding a clipboard more than a football when the "games that count" start in the fall. Teams now are doing more offseason scrimmaging with other teams to get the player "game ready" and this might be a good way to evaluate players without charging the fans full price to see Tyler Palko throw the ball to Joe Schmoe.
...and now on to the regular season. Here is my proposal
- 17 games. 8 home 8 away 1 neutral site. The obvious change here is the 1 neutral site game each team would play. There is literally a gajillion neutral sites throughout the USA, Canada, and the rest of the world that would love to see an NFL football game. Off the top of my head, LA, San Antonio, Toronto, London, Mexico City, Vancouver, and everywhere in between.
- All teams would have the bye week following the neutral site game. This is especially important for teams travelling to Europe, to have the extra week to get home, get ready and continue on business as usual.
- I would do away with AFC/NFC games. Huh? Ok, hear me out. How this would work (I'll use the Chiefs as example) is that the Chiefs would play 16 games, all against the AFC opponents. 15 of the games would be against every team in the AFC and the 16th game would be a 2nd in-division game based on the previous years standings. (ie 2nd AFCW game would be Chiefs/Chargers and Broncos/Raiders). This way every team has an equal playing field every year. There is no more "easy schedules", nor is there any "hard schedules". This would create some new rivalries that can't come to fruition when we play teams every 4 years. This will also create some familiarity in the playoffs as all playoff games up to the Superbowl will be rematches of previous games in the season. It would be exciting for the fans to get to play every team in their conference and get a chance to see players and teams that you don't normally play. It would also create perhaps some magic in the Superbowl of the NFL vs AFL.
- Playoffs would be very similar to where they are now. 6 teams from each conference would make the playoffs, and each division winner would be guaranteed a spot, however it would be reseeded from the start. If it was this year, Seahawks would still make the playoffs, but would be the 6 seed, travel to New Orleans, and more than likely lose 43-10
So there you have it. I think it benefits all parties.The players only have 1 more game, they have 2 less meaninless games and will not have to go through the grueling offseason program as it is today. Owners benefit as they get 1 more meaningful game on their schedule and the revenue from the game, with none of the expenses of actually hosting the game and most of all the fans benefit. We get another meaningful game, game gets greater exposure and we would get an exciting new schedule because face it, 6 interdivision games gets boring after a while.
What do you think?