NFL Labor Dispute: Is a 17-Game Season a Possibility?

Robert WayerskiCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2011

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 03: National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor and human resources in the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, Major League Baseball, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, Michael Weiner, general counsel for the Major League Baseball Players Association, Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Gabriel Feldman, associate professor of law and director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane University Law School, and Jeffrey Standen, professor of law at the Willamette University College of Law (L-R), testify on Capitol Hill on November 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on doping in professional sports.(Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

In the current NFL labor talks, an 18-game regular season is one of the things that the owners would like to see implemented in order to give them more revenue. The players are against this because they think it would cause more wear and tear on their bodies and likely lead to more injuries. A compromise could be a 17-game season.

I know for many fans the first question would be, who would get the extra home game? If a team were to miss the playoffs by one game to a team who had an extra home game, the fans and the owners would be furious.

The solution to that is to have every team have a neutral site game. Roger Goodell already wants to make this game more international, so he would not be opposed. Now, when a team goes to London or Mexico City, they don't have to lose a home game.

The possibilities are endless for locations. You could have an annual game in London, Toronto and Mexico City (places where the NFL has already been) and you could pick out other Canadian or European cities. You could also play games in the great college stadiums around the country—how about a night game in in Tiger Stadium or games played in the Big House or the Rose Bowl?

Logistically, there would have to be a few changes to the format of the season. The players would likely ask for fewer workouts or preseason games. My suggestion is shortening the preseason to two games and adding an extra bye week. The players would be happy because they would have an extra week off to keep themselves healthy and the extra off-week could help facilitate travel to Europe for teams playing there.

From the owners' point of view, they are losing two preseason games only to gain one regular season game. To make up that money, I think they need to start promoting and selling tickets to one intrasquad game per year. It would make up the money from a lost preseason game and could be broadcast on local TV or on the NFL network.

There are going to be many compromises needed between the players and the owners if there is not going to be a lockout. Maybe a 17-game season can give them one less thing to argue about.