Extending NFL season a bad idea

Letter to the Editor by Garrett Bonistalli. E-mail

The NFL, at least for now, differentiates itself from all other professional sports leagues. What makes the NFL great is what makes other professional sports seasons prolonged and meaningless until the final weeks of the season when games actually matter: the schedule.

It’s no secret that NFL receives higher TV ratings than other professional sports, which probably has to do with having a higher demand per game because of the shorter schedule. With a shorter schedule than other professional sports leagues, each game in the NFL is significant. Extending the schedule only lowers the significance of each game which, in turn, could result in lost interest.

By potentially adding two more games to the season, the NFL is risking significant increases in the number of potential injuries, which already play an exceptionally major role in the status quo. As result, by the time that the playoffs finally come around — which are supposed to be reserved for the most consistent teams that play the highest quality of football throughout the year — the class of football won’t be as high.

The NFL’s new proposal also cuts the preseason from four games to two. In cutting the preseason in half, teams have less time to evaluate the depth of talent on their team and less time to get starters reacquainted after a long offseason.

This creates a paradox. Do you want your backups to get valuable playing time in case an injury occurs and they have to play, or do you want to get your starters the majority of playing time and risk having unprepared backups?

The irony is that with an 18-game season, more injuries are likely to occur, but the shorter preseason probably won’t allow backups to be fully prepared to step in for injured players. Only playing two preseason games doesn’t allow much mixing of the two.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the upcoming offseason. The NFL and the National Football League Players Association are currently in discussions about a new collective bargaining agreement; both include an 18-game schedule. The leagues current collective bargaining agreement expires in March.

The NFL is potentially taking a big gamble that isn’t necessarily called for. Only time will tell the degree of the payoff.                        

Garrett Bonistalli

Journalism senior