Longer NFL Seasons
The NFL is finally changing its 16 game regular season format for the 2021-22 season. The recent CBA states that the league will expand to 17 regular season games and will only play three of the original four preseason games. This is a step in the right direction. But not completely. The NFL needs to think about now expanding that 17 to 18 some day to have an equal amount of home and away games, and to move on from the previous 16 game schedule. Also, two preseason games seems about right, not three. This provides another week of meaningful football and fans, organizations and players will all benefit from it. Getting rid of meaningless games and adding meaningful games causes more interesting games that matter, and more money for teams and players. The NFL should also strongly consider adding another bye week for each team. So in total, two preseason games, 18 regular season games and two bye weeks would make the perfect NFL schedule.
Playing in the NFL is a lot different than playing in the other top American sport leagues such as the MLB, NHL, and NBA. The NHL and NBA for example, have 82 regular season games and the MLB has 162. Take those numbers and compare them to the NFL’s current 16 game schedule and you would think that it is much harder for the other athletes because of the amount of games they play. Well players in the NFL will argue that they play in the toughest league. Football, especially pro football, is a brutal sport. Teams are faced with more injuries as the season progresses. NFL teams only play once a week throughout the whole season so teams have enough time to rest up before their next game. The schedule has always been simple and easy to follow. Each team would play 16 games, 8 home and 8 away, with one bye week for each team. Now however, the NFL is adding a 17th game like I have previously mentioned. This now makes teams play an odd number of games which is unfair. Now there will be some teams in the league that will be forced to play nine away games and only eight home games. It would make perfect sense for the NFL to then move to 18 games so that there are nine home games and nine away games.
Home field advantage is a real thing in professional sports. From the article “Is playing at home really an advantage?” the author, Kevin L. Burke says, “In a 2010 paper, University of Rochester social psychologist Jeremy P. Jamieson, who did a meta-analysis of studies on both team sports and individual contests such as golf, tennis and boxing going back more than six decades, calculated that those who are competing at home tend to win slightly more 60 percent of the time.” If home teams are winning more than the away teams, my question is, how is it fair for some teams to be playing 9 home games and only 8 away games. In all the sports leagues that I have ever watched and participated in, there has always been an even number of games. This is why there should be an 18 game regular season instead of 17. Having 18 games will assure that each team will play 9 home and away games. This is a more fair schedule for the league to consider. Also, removing one of the preseason games and adding another bye week for each team is also a good idea.
The Houston Texans starting running back going into the 2019 season was supposed to be Lamar Miller. His season was ended before it could even start when he tore his ACL in the 3rd game of the preseason. In 2016, the Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback, Tony Romo, was hit hard on his lower back early in the third preseason game and did not return to the field until week 17. Nobody wants to see players get hurt in games that simply do not really mean anything. The NFL should now consider shortening the preseason to 2 games and add another bye week in the regular season. Some players will tell you that 16 games is already enough. That is only with one bye week. Add another bye week to the schedule and players will have another week to rest their bodies. From the article “How NFL players spend their bye week” the author, Matt Bowen says, “The first thing most players look for when the NFL schedule comes out is the bye week. The opponents? The prime-time games? That stuff can wait. Man tell us when we get a break. One thing to realize: NFL players are not robots and the grind of the season is real, so guys cherish their time away.” With the addition of another bye week, players have another opportunity to stay healthy and spend time with their families and friends. I think most players would be in agreement with me in saying there would be nothing but positive outcomes by adding another week off.
Is playing at home really an advantage? Research says… (2016, January 21). Retrieved from: https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/nfl-conference-championship-games-home-field-advantage-records-panthers-bronocos-mlb-nba-nhl/1xio6320kqfb51q28da09zdlyl
A break from the grind: How NFL players spend their bye week (2016, November 11). Retrieved from: https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/18013606/how-nfl-players-spend-their-bye-week