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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Number of regular season games NOT to be expanded

Early report from Ft. Lauderdale, where the NFL was supposed to take up the issue of putting in more games into the regular season schedule, is that the plan will not be brought up this year.


Perhaps it had less to do with "smarts" than politics. This idea was half-baked, and had ZERO support from the players. So as a matter of reality, it was not going to work. Maybe this is another matter of reality- Goodell, you are fast becoming a joke! How professional is it to propose a plan that has zero support from your players? How professional is it to usher it in as a done deal when there obviously has been so little work in preparation and analysis? How could it be that 200 fans from one little corner of the football world here in the Ultimatenyg NY Giants blog vote this down by a margin of 3 to 1 (almost 4 to 1)? Rabid fans, the ones who you would think would be craving football 24/7/365? The ones talking football in the middle of the offseason? This was your power base and it still got voted down. We scheduled the poll to end when the meetings began. Perhaps the first hundred votes were placed with the lobbying of this blog against expanding the regular season. But the next 100 votes were made long after we quit lobbying, and those votes mirrored the conclusions of the first 100, almost exactly. Sure, if you go to the NFL.com site there probably was a poll and it was overwhelmingly in favor. But the people over there are voting with their hearts, not their heads. We read their comments, and it was the simple logic that more was better, anything to get rid of the preseason games. In fact, the only logical (and highly ironic!) argument we heard was that those "poor" seasons tickets holders wanted it because they were already forced to pay for those garbage preseason games, so they would rather get one extra real game. True, but the linkage ends there, because for players (especially the ones we care about, the ones we want to see and watch) it simply means TWO EXTRA GAMES.

We have been through all the arguments before. The proposal had no answer for how to protect the quality of play and the health of the people we want to see healthy. Here and in other places, we even offered a solution- if it is that valuable to you to expand the season, pay the players overtime, maybe (just maybe?) they would listen to that. All of a sudden the math of diminishing marginal returns kicks in and the NFL begins to understand how woefully inadequate their planning was for this. The battle lines become clear: players are not going to want to voluntarily do anything like this without getting far greater incremental compensation than the league could ever hope to gain from its advertisers (and broadcasters). It died. As a matter of logistical practicality, without the players it died. Goodell, what were you thinking, and when were you thinking it? How could ~200 votes here be so much more in touch with the best interests of the sport than you?

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