Should the NFL Expand the Regular Season?

Matthew ValentineContributor IMay 8, 2009

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has raised the possibility of expanding the regular season by up to two games. Goodell’s task will be a daunting one.

Try to convince rich men that they could make more money if they expanded the regular season schedule. Which leaves us with one question, does expanding the NFL season really benefit us, the fans?


The Case for Expansion

1.       Expanding the regular season will give the fans more football.

It’s a pretty simple notion, two more games means two more Sundays that we the fans get to watch our teams battle it out on the Gridiron.

This is undoubtedly a good thing, unless you’re a Lions fan, but for the rest of us who could possibly argue against watching more football?

2.       Pre-season games are eliminated to make room for games that matter.

Each year season ticket holders are sent a package. This package brings with it many things.  Hope, that this year may actually be the year our team goes all the way. Joy, that a new NFL season has finally come.

Excitement, that soon enough you will be standing in a parking lot with thousands of other people who share a common purpose, not drinking until you can’t stand, although for some people that is a strong possibility, but rooting for your home team.

Lastly, in that package, there are those fresh sleeves of tickets. You can smell them now can’t you?  Yet, there’s that one sleeve in this package that always seems to get tossed aside. It’s the sleeve that contains the preseason games, and I’ve literally had people beg me to take them off their hands.

The expansion will eliminate two of these “meaningless” games and half of that sleeve and replace them with games that actually matter.

I mean only the most die-hard amongst us actually stays for an entire preseason game, if we even make the trip to the stadium at all. The expansion solves this problem.

3.       It generates more revenue for the league and for your team.

You may be thinking, what do I care if my already rich team owner makes more money? And you’re point is well taken, but think about it. If your team generates more revenue perhaps some of that money could be used to improve the fan experience, or at least improve facilities for the players, which just may improve their performance on the field. Lions fans keep your fingers crossed on that one.


The Case Against Expansion

1.       Pre-season games are not exactly meaningless.

They seem meaningless to us fans, but ask an NFL coach or an unsigned free agent if he thinks preseason games are meaningless. Preseason games give coaches the chance to evaluate their team’s rookies, free agents, and depth without costing them in the win/loss column.

Also, it gives players who would likely never play in a game that “counts” a chance to prove that they deserve a roster spot. Many a sixth- or seventh-round draft pick, or even an unsigned free agent have gone on to excellent NFL careers, and they did so by first proving themselves in the pre-season.

2.       Here comes the meat wagon.

Think about how incredibly taxing a 16 game schedule is on a player’s body. Now imagine if that same player had to play two extra games and possibly a playoff game. Simply, an expanded schedule is going to put players at an increased risk for injury.

Fans aren’t going to enjoy it too much if their teams star QB goes down with an injury in week 18 because his body is worn out.

I understand that these are men, who are extremely well played to do their job, but they’re not pieces of meat we put through a grinder for our own entertainment and they shouldn’t be treated as such.

3.       Greed is good…not really.

Listen, the main reason behind an expanded regular season schedule is greed, plain and simple.

I know I said that more revenue could be used to improve the fan experience or facilities for players, but really what are the odds of that happening? More likely the owners will pocket the extra cash stream, while laughing on their way to the bank.

4.       All you’ll need is a ticket to London.

Yep, that’s right. The expanded schedule will give us all at least two more games to watch, but it will strictly be from the comfort of our own couch. Not a big deal if you’re not a season ticket holder, but not great of you are.

That’s because the expanded games will most likely be played abroad, to expand the NFL’s global market. So, you the 20-year season ticket holder are being passed up for the British guy who thought he was buying a ticket to a soccer game.


So what’s the verdict? Well, it’s not really up to me, but I have to admit the idea of having two more games to watch is really, really appealing. Yet, what cost are we willing to pay for two more weeks of football?