Picture this: The NFL will start the 2012 season with a newly extended 18-game schedule.
This is a very real scenario that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is endorsing.
For the owners, more regular games generate more money. For the fans, they have two more weekends of real football to look forward to.
That sounds like a win-win situation.
But wait, let's not celebrate just yet.
Here's why an 18-game schedule will be a bad idea.
On paper, the idea of removing two preseason games and replacing them with two regular season games appears to be a good idea.
The preseason doesn't really draw as much interest or revenue as regular season games.
However, player progression and roster evaluation suffers from this idea.
How else can you make an impression, if not during the preseason?
Preseason games are valuable for fringe players. Two less games means less time to showcase their talents and abilities.
With veterans also needing time to prepare for the longer season, it would be a difficult task to balance all the minutes between the veterans and the fringe players.
What about unproven youngsters, comeback players, and undrafted free agents?
There'll be less time to invest in finding out how players fit into a team's system.
Coaches will be averse to putting players into games that are on the bubble and seeing how well they play in a regular season game.
So former players that came out of nowhere to make an impression may not stand a chance with this new format.
It's a rough and tough game. Players get injured.
There's always players that get hurt during games, in practice, and throughout the course of a regular 16-game season.
Now, if we add two more games to their workload, it's safe to predict that there'll be more injuries.
That's a tough reality to face if you're a player that is trying to make a living playing in the NFL.
There's no doubt that two extra regular season games will take an enormous toll on the bodies of NFL players.
More games equates to more mileage. Thus, shorter careers.
A running back that could hit the 30-year-old wall could hit it a year or two earlier from the extended season.
That's a scary thought for players that try everything they can to extend their careers.
NFL players are pension eligible after four years. But an average NFL career is just over three years.
You do the math; two extra games is not going to be welcomed by the players.
What's important for the players is their paycheck. Which they get on a game-by-game basis
And in their minds—more work, means more money, right?
Not to the owners.
The owners say that players will already get a share of the increased revenue from the added regular season games.
Now, does that sound fair?
We know some of these guys take plays off.
With the added two regular season games and increased workload, some players might pout and try less harder in specific games, or simply put out a weaker overall effort all season in order to pace themselves for the end of the season.
It's unfair to name names, but it does happen.
Think about it.
Several single-season records will be shattered from the added two games.
For quarterbacks, 5,000 passing yards and 50 TDs could be a possibility.
While running backs could easily crack the 2,000 yard barrier every year.
Those are fun and exciting stats for fans, but players will be adding more toll to their bodies.
This is the NFL, not Madden 2012.
Here's something that college football will not appreciate: The NFL will start its regular season around the same time they start theirs.
Labor Day weekend is a time to celebrate the return of college football, not the NFL.
Some fans are enamored with the idea of watching their favorite team. But fans of losing teams will have to suffer through a longer year of futility.
What about the 2009 Detroit Lions or Oakland Raiders?
Two extra games will not make a bottom-dwelling team any better.
What about the money that is being lost by weaker teams that are suffering from poor attendance?
Adding two regular season games will not remedy that problem.
This solution could actually lose more fans than win new ones.
With players and owners each at the opposite side of this argument, a lockout might be looming after this season.
Players want more money to play their extra games, owners want to generate more money from the games but don't want to play the players.
A stalemate is likely.
The biggest losers will not the be players or the owners. It will be the fans who pay money to watch the games and will do anything to watch their favorite teams and players any given Sunday.
But the truth is, one major interest is at play. Greed.