The idea of expanding the NFL’s regular season to 18 games, and reducing the preseason to two, is rapidly gaining steam among NFL owners.
While the idea hasn’t caught on nearly as well with the players, the NFL and the player’s union met for the first time on Wednesday to discuss the possibility, which is a sure sign the league wants to move forward with the plan.
“This is an idea that is really gaining momentum, particularly with the owners,” Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy said.
“Part of it is really providing more value to our fans. The quality of our preseason has really deteriorated over time.”
Some players expressed opposition to the plan, most notably Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis and New England quarterback Tom Brady, but these discussions are likely to be a key component of a new collective bargaining agreement.
The earliest an expanded season would be instituted is 2012 and the league may see some other changes, according to Murphy.
Most notably is the possibility of a developmental league.
“If you look across most professional sports, we’re the only league without some type of minor league or developmental system to develop players,” Murphy said.
Part of the reason for a developmental league would be to give younger players the game experience they’d lose if the NFL abandons two weeks of the preseason.