Counter Intuitive Thought about Reengineering the NFL Season?
Currently, in the NFL, you have a 16 game regular season. Add the 4 pre-season games and it makes a 20 game season even before playoffs are discussed. Regarding the pre-season, typically, most starting wide receivers, quarterbacks and running backs will only play about 50% of the pre-season. Roughly 15 minutes or so in the first pre-season game, starters may play about one half of the 2nd and 3rd games and perhaps a few series in the final pre-season game. During these 4 games, most coaches and general managers want their starters to be exposed to some physical contact and action and speed of the game to get them in “game shape,” however, at the same time, they want their stars to avoid any injury before gridiron becomes real.
Could we improve pre-season football at all? Could that brand stand a refresh? At the start of the regular season, you may find some players for one reason or another, have played very little when the games didn’t count. Chances are, some of these players will not be at full capacity when those 16 games come around. On the spectator front, every year, you will find many fans and journalists complaining about full NFL ticket prices — where fans find inferior players playing in big-level uniforms on the big stage paying big level dollars. Is that customer centric? You may also find some general managers have issues with pre-season football, they don’t always have enough time and opportunities to evaluate all of their talent before rosters have to be trimmed a number of times. Any way to improve NFL pre-season football?
One suggestion, redesigning the pre-season and improve its importance so these games do partly count toward the regular season.
What do I mean? Have each pre-season game (or I’ll also refer to as half-season) count as half of a regular season game. So, half-season games become more interesting and compelling although just half the value of the regular games. Two wins equal 1 point, if you win 3 out of 4 games of your half-season games, you’d receive 1.5 points. Of course, each win during the 16 regular season games would count as 1 point with this new format. A perfect season would be 18 points, 2 points for winning all 4 half-season games and 16 points for going undefeated in the regular season.
Of course, the player’s union would not necessarily go for that extension unless they benefit too. You may be able to dangle the carrot in front of the player’s union by offering to expand the roster by 5 to 9? That way, these additional players could be used in the half-season and throughout the regular season. Of course, you may also need to compensate the regular players slightly as they’d be asked to play up to 10% more than they currently play. Each team would have to determine individually how to divide up the additional revenue as they work through this new system.
For those who follow the game or listen to sport’s radio, fans may realize NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants to eventually extend the season to 18 games. Sports’ fans may also know that the majority of NFL veterans are against this proposal – players claim the 16 game season is too long to begin with and is too hard on players’ bodies without even factoring in the playoffs. Could this new format work? You’d be adding several players to each roster so more good football players could realize their dream of playing in the NFL, NFL receiving a larger TV contract, some players receiving additional compensation and ensuring every game played whether regular or pre-season count as something.
Advantages and Additional Interest
1. Ticket Prices Are Fairer Fans would complain a lot less about the ticket prices in August because with the new value system, starters would play a lot more half-season so the level of play will be improved.
2. Buzz, Buzz, Buzz…The buzz for the NFL would no longer occur in August, because the August games would count as half of the regular season so the buzz may begin in July.
3. Better Strategy It would force more NFL teams to be more creative and strategic about their best players – do you ignore the pre-season (half-season) because each game is only half as important as the regular season and you don’t want to risk your stars getting injured or do you take another approach? If you’re anxious to get going in the half-season or have many new members on your team, you may want to start the best players immediately to get some momentum and start the season on the right foot.
4. More NFL Players You could possibly expand the roster by 5 to 9 players by instituting this new schedule. More players would have jobs and would have more opportunities to show their football acumen. By expanding the rosters, conceivably, many of the regulars would not be involved in more than 10% more plays for each season.
5. New TV Contract? With a longer season, and more meaningful games to broadcast, the NFL could renegotiate their contract with the NFL players. It’s possible certain players may earn 10-20% more, with a more lucrative TV contract, there would be much more money to share among all teams.
6. All Players Ready in September Even if some teams are a little sluggish beginning the season, implementing this new schedule would help prepare most teams to be in better “playing shape” come early September for the regular season.
7. Injury Rebound Having a longer season may provide more opportunities for players to come back from injuries. For example, if someone breaks an ankle in August, there may be enough time in the season for them to come back later in the fall.