A few weeks ago we passed along one idea for an 18-game schedule that involved each player playing in a maximum of 16 games meaning you had to pick a pair of games each year players would miss. It was a little off-the-wall but I liked the idea of thinking outside the box.
Another 18-game season idea has come along, this time from Ravens C Matt Birk. Here's what he suggested to a Minneapolis radio station:
I would say maybe like something like a 16-game season and [eliminate two preseason games] and maybe expand the playoffs by two teams and eliminate the first-round bye for the one and two seeds. That would give you two more playoff games on TV that you could televise.
For some time, the Chiefs were apparently one of the teams who wanted more teams added to the playoff field. That never happened obviously but Birk's idea reminds me of that.
In his idea, yes you'd gain two playoff games, which would be some good revenue for both sides but you'd also be losing two preseason games -- and you get charged at full price for those. It seems you wouldn't come out very far ahead, if at all, financially. And that's what this is all about -- increasing the pie for everyone. I like this idea better than the 18-game-season-but-only-play-16-game idea but both of them have some flaws.
I'm trying to come up with ideas on an 18-game schedule that A.) works for the fans and B.) works for the players (player safety) and C.) for the owners (increasing revenue). Any ideas? I'm not sure that there are any realistic ideas out there that solve all those problems.