Sep 27, 2010

Well, if you ask one team president, the answer is yes.

Colts president Bill Polian not only thinks the NFL will will have an 18 game regular season, he thinks its already a done deal.

He called the 18 game regular season decision a “fait accompli” twice during his weekly Monday night radio show.

“I think that the owners, and principally the commissioner, have decided that it’s the way to go, and so the debate, such as it was, is over,” Polian said. “I’ve heard recently, and I’m sorry that this didn’t get more coverage earlier, some really, really interesting commentary on it. … I wish some of that dialogue had taken place earlier.”

Of course, maybe this is just a team president who is speaking his mind?  NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello said that the NFL had no response to Polian’s comments.  Meanwhile, NFLPA Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs, George Atallah went to Twitter and said this,

“Only fait accompli at this point is that we will have enhanced negotiating sessions with strident commentary.”

The 18 game season.  The NFLPA is obviously not too keen on the idea, with high profile players like Ray Lewis and Tom Brady speaking out against the idea,

“Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football.  If fans want to show their love, they should let everyone know that we are not machines.  I’ve been blessed to play this game for so long, but its time to start thinking about what legacy and impact changes like this will leave for the players of tomorrow and us after we retire.  I know our fans may not like preseason games and i don’t like all of them, but swapping two preseason games for two end-of-season games–when players already play hurt–comes at a huge cost for the player and the team.  I know our Union is on top of it and players need to stay in touch with the Union and our Executive Director to stay informed.”  – Ray Lewis

Of course, in a situation where the owners are threatening to lock-out the players, in part due to a lack of money, revenue from two more regular season games has to look pretty appealing.  Yet and still, trying to force an 18 game season down the throat of the people who actually play the games probably wouldn’t go over to well with the Players Association.  As Atallah mentioned, more negotiations are certainly necessary.

The current NFL collective bargaining agreement expires at the beginning of March, with many people believing that a lock-out could occur very soon thereafter.

The problem with the 18 game season is that the NFL is essentially a 100% injury league; everyone gets hurt at some point in time.  Creating a situation with two more regular season games leaves fewer games to evaluate rookies and free agents, which has the potential to water down competition late in the season when star players may be injured.  And of course, roster sizes and roster limits is another issues that would have to be addressed.

It all creates even more issues for what could be considered an already tense labor agreement.

Lets not forget that the NFLPA already has players voting on the ability to decertify the union, which would prevent a league lock-out, and probably lead to a lawsuit by the NFL…

Yeah. This should be interesting.

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