As the NFL players and owners continue to meet to try and agree on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, they have several items to negotiate. One of those points was the owners’ supposed desire to implement an 18-game regular season. Most players opposed it, fans weren’t elated for it, but the owners wanted it and spoke like it was an inevitability.
Regardless of their desires, NFLPA exec De Smith says the union will not discuss an 18-game season. The rigidity of Smith’s stance on the issue makes me wonder if the owners can use that for leverage in negotiations with another topic. It also makes me wonder if they ever wanted 18 games in the first place, or if they were pushing the idea solely for the purpose of leverage in negotiations.
The fans never pushed for the idea of 18 games. As LBS contributor Gene pointed out, and Jimmy Traina wrote on twitter, contrary to what Roger Goodell has said, the fans’ objection never was four preseason games, it was just having to pay for four preseason games in order to purchase season tickets. The two are not the same issue.
It’s quite possible Goodell and the owners knew the players would object to it, and by pushing for the longer season, they’d guarantee themselves leverage for another topic. Hey, they already had guaranteed themselves payments from TV networks in the case of a lockout, who’s to say they didn’t have this planned too?