I'll Pass on The 18 Game Schedule: 5 Changes the NFL Should Consider
The NFL is always looking for ways to tweak or change the rules to make America’s favorite sport even better. One area that typically does not have much change is the schedule. That is, until lately. Right now the NFL is deciding if it should move from the current 16 game schedule to an 18 game schedule.
Personally, I say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There is nothing wrong with the 16 game schedule or the playoff system (except for the fact a division winner could make the playoffs at 7-9, but that’s another issue entirely).
However I do believe there are some changes the NFL should consider...
1. Universal Bye Week
The first change should be the bye week. Some teams have Week 3 off, while others have Week 9 off. No matter how you spin it, I do not see how this is the least bit fair. My proposed change would be to play eight weeks, give the entire league a bye in Week 9, and then play the remaining eight games. I’m not entirely sure why this isn’t already being done, but my only guess is that the NFL can’t afford to lose an entire weeks worth of revenue. Nonetheless, does this not seem like the best solution? Sure, us avid fantasy football players would be completely lost on the ninth Sunday of the season, but why not take that entire weekend and spend it with your family. Besides, if you’re like me, your team has suffered too many injuries and had too many one point losses and don’t have much of a chance at making the playoffs anyway.
As for the NFL, if you simply cannot have a weekend with no football, why not either put on some kind of charity event with dozens of players, or have some of the best players in the first half of the season compete in some competitions. You can have a few quarterbacks participate in some accuracy or distance competitions, kickers can have kicking competitions and I’m sure they could come up with other competitions for some skill players. Assign different charities to each player and the winning player for each competition wins money for his respective charity. Personally I think one week of no NFL would be just fine, but if something has to happen, I’m sure the higher-ups in the NFL can think of something.
2. Every Team Plays on Monday Night
My second rule change would be that every team should play on Monday Night Football. Now, there are only 15 games on Monday nights (usually there is no MNF game in the last week of the season). But that can easily be changed so there are 16 MNF games, and there are 32 teams in the league. I’m no math wiz, but it seems to me that each week would feature a new matchup. Now some would say this is a bad idea. For example, what if this season we were forced to watch the Carolina Panthers take on the Arizona Cardinals late in the season? Who would watch that? Probably not many people, but fans that don’t live in the state of their favorite football team would be guaranteed that they could see their team play at least once per year. I know the NFL is a business and it’s all about money but they get their money from the fans, so why not do something the fans want?
3. Start and Finish Season With Division Matchups
My third rule change would deal with divisional matchups. Every team’s first three games and last three games of the season would be against divisional opponents. To add on to this change, every year it would alternate. For example if the Packers and Vikings played in Week 2 at Lambeau this season, then next season in their first matchup they would play in Minnesota. This type of scheduling makes the final three games of the season very important when determining divisional races. The NFL has somewhat gotten it right, but not fully. This season, every matchup in Week 17 is a divisional game. However, in Week 16 we have games like Detroit at Miami, Houston at Denver and Carolina at Pittsburgh.
4. No More Thursday Games
My fourth rule change would be to get rid of these Thursday night games. Thanksgiving Day games are fine, and I am even okay with having three games rather than the traditional two (a recent change). Maybe this is just the fantasy football player inside of me speaking, but when you have to set lineups by Thursday, you simply don’t always know what players will or won’t be healthy once Sunday rolls around. Also, having Thursday games every week means teams will typically only have three rest days. Granted, I know the Eagles just played four games in 18 days and won three of them, however it is unlikely teams will be that successful on such short rest. I realize this rule change will never happen because these Thursday games are on the NFL Network, which is owned by the NFL. So a possible smaller change to this would be, if we are going to keep Thursday games for the latter half of the season, let’s put it on a channel that most people have because millions of people just don’t have the NFL Network.
5. Diversify Super Bowl Locations
My fifth and final rule change isn’t quite as much about the regular season schedule, but the Super Bowl. Why not let every city host the Super Bowl? So what if the San Diego Chargers have to face the New York Giants in a Super Bowl located in Pittsburgh in an awful blizzard? That is football! If the Chargers can play in a snow storm in the regular season or in a playoff game, why can’t they handle it in a Super Bowl?
There are probably numerous other rule changes the NFL could look at, but these are five that I think the league should consider. What are your thoughts?