Ultimate NYG has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More regular season games

"More is better." So it goes for the conventional wisdom employed by children and insecure adults behaving like children.

The NFL is floating an idea for a May 2009 vote on increasing the number of regular season football games from 16 to 17 or 18.

Using very simple logic:
we like football
17 or 18 > 16
we like more football
ergo, more games is good

MISTAKE. Big mistake.

We have seen it countless number of times.. players late in the season nursing injuries. It is not a question of whether players are playing hurt, it is a question of how hurt they are. Asking teams and players to play more and lengthen the season is DILUTION. It means the fans will get more games with less quality. It means playoff games with the walking wounded.

What is different now from a decade ago? From a generation ago? Players are a lot bigger and they are slightly faster. Granted medicine is better, but bodies are not able to take the abuse these players get subjected to on a 14 game season, let alone a 16 game season, let alone a 16 game season with higher energy collisions, let alone a 17 game or an 18 game season with these higher energy collisions.

This is where the money gets in the way of the sport. More regular season games means more money. But what about the quality of EVERY game? How do you measure the quality of a sport where players are already getting rotated more and more? We spend countless hours/days/months analyzing the draft, searching for that star, but then the 11 star-ters won't be on the field because they are too hurt or need to be given less snaps to survive the season. We watched as warriors like Tuck and Robbins played hurt, significantly less effective by the end of the season. Let's throw another 1 or 2 games in there and see what we get. What we will get is dilution.

You have to optimize quality, not quantity. The NFL is trying to optimize quantity, their economics. We the fans will get more of the second stringers playing more plays, more games. Is this good football? More is not better. The NFL is going down the road of baseball, whoring themselves out to the television coverage, the tv contracts, whatever they can do to grow their sport. But when growth comes at the cost of diminishing the quality of the product, any business manager will tell you that you have to find another answer. More games is not the answer.

More expansion teams. More teams being allowed into the playoffs. These are all ways of generating more revenue, growing the sport. They dilute the quality of the player on the field. They dilute the importance of the regular season.

Historically speaking, the reason why there were 6 preseason games was because most football players were out of shape come July. Unless they were the star of the team, most played in relative anonymity, did not get paid enough and had to have second jobs in the offseason. As salaries increased, that need became less and less. Offseason training became a mainstay to competitiveness. 6 preseason games gave way to 4 preseason games, and nowadays even 4 are not needed (for most starters) because everyone is a fulltime athlete now who comes into camp in very good shape. But that does not mean that cutting away those four games gives the NFL more "space" for increasing the regular season. That logic does not wash because the reason why starters are playing less and less in the preseason is because the coaches need to protect them for regular season snaps. The number of regular season snaps a player takes cannot be increased indefinitely. In the 2008 offseason all we heard about were the effects of the Giants having to play 20 games instead of 16, how the recovery from that year was longer and they had less time during the offseason to charge up for the new year, something which can get dismissed by the fast start but cannot be dismissed by the weak ending.

16 games is plenty of competition to determine who gets to go to the playoffs. When was the last time you heard a player or coach say they needed to play more games to determine who was deserving? Try never. 16 games is more than enough competition.

Addendum: Just found this Peter King link on nfl.com, at the end of the interview he discusses the proposal to expand the number of games. Very sad that his ear to the ground says it will pass. The only selfish/silver lining to this one is that the Giants, with a loaded D-Line, would have a distinct advantage in a longer season. Ya think that maybe Reese understood this when he was stockpiling Canty and Bernard?!


Mitch said...

Let me first say that I think 16 games are enough. We all love football and 18 games are an enticing idea but if it increases injuries...then it is penny wise and dollar foolish.

As far as Jerry Reese stockpiling D-Lineman that wouldn't surprise me at all.

Come March 31st I'm sure we will begin to finally find out Jerry Reese's master plan regarding Plax. He has a Plan A,B & C depending on what if scenarios.

"In Reese We Trust"

Motown Blue said...

If this browning BS does pass then all the speculation on moving up in the first round is less plausible. They would be better served to use the later rounds (4,5,6 and 7) to get extra picks in round 2, 3 or 4 and/or move up in these rounds. They will need extra depth and the quality/value has historically been in rounds 2-3.

This will make the NFL catch up with the highly diluted NHL and to lesser degree MLB. Hockey and Baseball overexpanded and the move to 18 games will essentially do the same.

Only hope is the Players Union takes a stand on this and plays hardball for more $$ out of the greedy owners. Maybe a stalemate will keep this from happening.

NYG24 said...

They will try to add 2 games to make it an 18 game season and reduce those preseason games to 2.
As you state many players don't even play in those preseason games and in reality only a handful of players not already guaranteed on the team are fighting for the handful of jobs.

The Canadian Football League by strange co-incidence used to play a 16 game season with 4 exhibition games before the season started. A few years ago they cut the pre-season games back to 2 and increased the regular season to 18 games.

How empty is Giants Stadium for the 4th preseason game? Do you think the Giants will have more people buying hotdogs, programs, whatever in the 18th game of the year? Plus higher TV revenue for those 2 extra games?

It will be done.

Russ Wellen said...

Lengthening the season turns football into even more of a war of attrition than it already is. Beyond just the quality of the game, the fans are betrayed when, instead of the best man winning, the last man standing wins.

If the league is that desperate for more money, break the NFL into two nine-game seasons, spring and fall. Because the players would be sharper, they wouldn't have to spend as much time in off-season training.

I'm sure commenters will be happy to apprise me of the many reasons this wouldn't fly.

Andy F. said...

lunchtime special- I think you nailed it, Russ, you articulated the essence, that the football game will be more a game of attrition than a game of skill. How many times do we already say that you need luck to have healthy enough players? So it is not who is the best, it is who is the healthiest. I do not like it one bit. Injuries are already a big part of the game, and now they will be everything. Just because it is inevitable does not mean I (or you, if you agree) have to be pleased with this. I think it is horsebrown. I have never written a letter to the commissioner, but I won't remain silent if this is a 'freight train.'

Death by a thousand cuts. 32 teams. Flex games. Evening games in Dec and Jan. 18 game seasons where attrition is rewarded over skill. Let's make the season 52 weeks long so that we can max out the revenue. These players are going to break down sooner. Politics makes strange bedfellows, but I for the first time I hope the players union revolts on this one. Frankly, it is not in their best interests one bit. This time they and the fans are imo completely on the same side.

xtian said...

the season is long enough as it is--21 weeks including playoffs, add to that 4 weeks of preseason which is not really watched. in the middle of august there are lots of ppl still taking vacations and such.

you know with baseball, hockey, and bball there are so many regular season games that you just don't watch much of it. you watch the important games, towards the end of the season, and then the playoffs.

by having them expand to 18 games it means 2 more weekends and ppl will not treasure the games as much. sports are entertainment and fun, but not necessary for life. by watering down the importance of regular season games there will be less ppl watching them especially during summer. very bad idea. also there will be many wives who really put their foot down and say too much. [not my personal problem mind you]

i get so tired of this constant money rules america sh*t!

Mitch said...

John Mara seems like the only reasonable voice


Sports Business Directory - BTS Local
Blog Directory - Blogged