Debating Roger Goodell's Wish for an Extended Regular Season

Dan ParzychSenior Writer IMarch 26, 2009

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 30:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addresses the media at the news conference prior to Super Bowl XLIII on January 30, 2009 at Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell plans to present a proposal to owners around the league about the possibility of expanding the NFL regular season to 17 or 18 games. He believes there is no need to hold four preseason games and the proposal would be beneficial toward the league and their fans.

An extra regular-season game or two means a longer NFL season. Some fans and players may be satisfied with this decision. However, there may be a handful of fans and players who may be unhappy with this decision.

If Goodell decides to go through and push for an extra game or two in the regular season, there will be many factors that have an impact on his decision. No matter what decision he decides to make, Goodell needs to understand a few topics that may come into play and affect his decision process.

How would a 17-game regular season take place without controversy?

With 16 games in the regular season, each team gets the same advantage by playing eight games at home and eight games on the road. If the league were to expand to 17 games in the regular season, it would be impossible to have each team have the same amount of home and away games.

No matter what, there would be teams left with an unfair advantage of having that extra away game instead of an extra home game.

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So if Goodell followed through with this decision, how would he make it fair for each team? The only possibility that would be fair is if each team played at a neutral site.

The idea seems fair. However, this idea may not make the fans happy. First off, if fans want to watch their favorite team at the neutral site, this means it would cost more money for fans to travel to this location (even though they may already spend money traveling to watch their favorite team play on the road).

Also, it may be difficult to sell out a stadium between two teams if they are playing at a neutral site. There is a good chance that the cities hosting the neutral games will consist of fans who have no interest in spending money on two teams they have zero interest for.

It's one thing to fill up a stadium with two sets of fans at a neutral site during the Super Bowl. However, the chances of selling out a stadium with fans of two separate teams at a neutral site may be a challenge the NFL has to face if they go through with the decision of a 17 game regular season. 

Would players be able to handle an extra game or two in the regular season?

One of the biggest issues regarding extra regular-season games has been whether or not the players could handle it on a physical level. Players' bodies get banged up enough during 16 games and that extra game or two might be too much for them to handle.

It's understandable to see why this would be an issue, right? It's hard for an NFL player to play 17 or 18 games in a single season without their body being too worn out. But then again, don't we sometimes see players play 17 or 18 games in a season when their team advances to the playoffs after the regular season?

It's understandable why people would question whether or not players can handle an extended season on a physical level. There are certain players who may struggle on a physical level playing an extra game or two each season.

However, if players can't handle playing a few extra games each season, doesn't that defeat the purpose of playing in the NFL?

When players enter the NFL, there is one dream that everybody shares together: holding that Lombardi trophy after winning the Super Bowl. No matter which team a player plays for, the winners of the Super Bowl have to play through 19 or 20 games to claim the title.

An extra game or two in the regular season may seem like a lot for players to handle on a physical level. This may mean making it to the Super Bowl requires teams to play 21 or 22 games each season. However, these are NFL players we're talking about here. If they want to win it all that bad, they can handle a few extra games each season.

If Goodell goes through with extending the season an extra game or two for the regular season, how will this affect the preseason?

The worst part about extra regular season games is there's a chance that the amount of preseason games may have to be cut in half, if not eliminated. Fans and players across the league will mourn the loss of the part of the season they look forward to the most year after year.

Obviously, this is a joke (as is the preseason).

The preseason has been a topic criticized for years mainly because of its four week length. Why have teams risk players getting injured by playing in games that mean absolutely nothing in regards to standings?

Over the last couple of years, we have seen star players such as Michael Vick (pre-dogfight era) and Ray Lewis suffer severe injuries during preseason games that had an effect on their regular season.

If Goodell convinces owners to go through with the plan of adding extra regular season games, he will have no choice but to change the way preseason runs. Whether it involves cutting down on the number of games played or just eliminating preseason in general, the fans will most likely be happy about the changes no matter what.

How would an extended season affect the playoffs and offseason?

One of the main concerns regarding an extension of the regular season is the effect on the playoffs and the offseason. This may not seem like a big issue, but there is a lot more to it than most people realize.

If changes are made, there will most likely be changes made as far as playoffs. If Goodell decides to add an extra game or two to the schedule, there is a chance that playoffs will start a few weeks later instead of the beginning of January.

This means the Super Bowl could be played toward the end of February.

At first, this may not seem like a big deal at first. However, pushing back the Super Bowl means specific offseason tasks may be pushed back as well. Voluntary workouts, the draft in April, and training camp may have to take place later than expected if the season lasts a few weeks longer.

This may not seem like that big of a deal. However, everything adds up and has more of an impact than people realize. Think about it; if the regular season starts up at the same time but lasts a few weeks longer than players are used to, they have a shorter offseason.

Players may not receive as much time off in the offseason as they are used to. Sometimes, it can be nice for players to enjoy that time off away from football and rest their bodies from burn out after an intense season.

Goodell needs to think about the impact of extra games in the regular season before making a final decision. On paper, a few extra games may seem harmless.

In the end though, everything adds up. A few extra games will have an impact on the players, fans, and even off season activities. It could be beneficial but it could also be a disaster.

Whether he decides to go through the process or not, Goodell will have his hands full either way while trying to figure out the best decision for the league.

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