SBD/Issue 14/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Rich McKay Says NFL Is "Not All The Way" To 18-Game Schedule

McKay Notes 18-Game Schedule Has
Momentum, But Is Far From A Done Deal

Falcons President and NFL Competition Committee Chair Rich McKay appeared on NFL Network last night and said there are a "lot of things that go into an 18-game schedule, and we're not all the way there." McKay: "You've got to protect the quality of the game, you've got to look at player safety and health and it really ends up having to be a comprehensive solution that involves the offseason, that involves training camp, that involves the regular season, it involves roster sizes and involves a lot of things." He noted the league has done a "lot of analysis" on the topic, including having both a GM and coaches subcommittee work on it and holding "discussions with the union about it." McKay: "I do think it has a lot of momentum. I think the fans have spoken that from a value standpoint they'd like to see us convert preseason games to regular season games, but I think the process is ongoing" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 9/29). Meanwhile, in Baltimore, Mike Preston reports Ravens Minority Owner Art Modell "expects league officials to adopt the 18-game schedule proposal." He said the 18-game proposal is "loaded with danger because we are having a great fall as far as fan attendance and viewers, and now we're going to add something that we don't know how it will play out as far as injuries, viewers, sponsors." Modell also "fears there could be" a work stoppage next season. He noted it "seems every chance to get something done" in regard to a new CBA is "being killed." Modell: "There is so much talk about a (lockout) that there seems to be something sinister about it" (, 9/29).

PR GAME: YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel examined the need to "win the support of the public" in the NFL CBA negotiations in the wake of rookie Cowboys WR Dez Bryant spending $54,896 on dinner for his teammates. The talks are a "political war now and politics is a dirty business, one that feeds off the lowest common denominator of stupidity." The NFLPA "will be well-served to pound that message into their players' heads," as the NFL and its owners "know how to play this game." Wetzel: "There's a reason commissioner Roger Goodell has begun hosting 'fan forums.' And it's no accident he came dressed casually in a golf shirt." Goodell, the son of late U.S. Sen. Charles Goodell (R-NY), "wants to portray himself (and often does) as a concerned and connected executive, not someone who makes $11-plus million a year and arrived on a private jet" (, 9/29).

NO URGENCY: NATIONAL FOOTBALL POST's Andrew Brandt noted recent bargaining sessions, including Tuesday's, "have produced little to no progress," as "without the urgency of the March deadline, there is little negotiating." The NFL "continues to request/demand the sharing of the collective risk and a significant rollback from the present deal; the players continue to request/demand financial transparency from the teams." Meanwhile, Brandt noted "lockout preparations have been underway since 2007 when the league hired Bob Batterman, the attorney who guided the NHL through its 2004 lockout." NFL teams "have been drafting employment contracts for the past couple of years that call for reduced pay and/or furloughs for employees in 2011 in the event of a lockout, all in the name of being prepared" (, 9/29).

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