NFLers Could Use 18-Game Season As Bargaining Chip In CBA Talks
An 18-game NFL regular season is, "at best, a tough sell," but some on the players' side believe the NFLPA "at least should listen to what the owners might have to say about a longer regular season," according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. NFL agent Peter Schaffer said, "There's never anything that's a non-starter. It's an issue of how clever you can get, how creative you can get, how you can morph the issues." Schaffer said that he would have "player-safety research conducted to see whether it would be feasible to have each team play a 17th regular season game (perhaps at a neutral site) while cutting the preseason in half and also giving each team a second bye week during the regular season." Schaffer: "I'm all for player safety. At the same time, if there's a way to increase revenues and maintain the same level of player safety, let's do it" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/11). In Boston, Tom Curran wrote the money to be made from two extra games and the "utter uselessness of a four-game preseason ensure this isn't going away." A longer regular season may "shape up to be an actual bargaining chip instead of the non-starter it's seemed to be in the past" during the upcoming CBA negotiations. If the players "want weed restrictions relaxed and unilateral disciplinary power taken away from the commissioner, let's play 18" (NBCSPORTSBOSTON.com, 6/12).
CREATIVE APPROACH: THE ATHLETIC's Lindsay Jones wrote some NFL teams "need to consider" playing some preseason games in non-NFL markets. The Raiders will play a preseason game this year in Winnipeg, and Jones wrote, "Logistically, it's challenging, but this is something other teams need to consider, and something the league should encourage." One of the "biggest scams in professional sports is that the NFL treats preseason games like regular-season games." There are millions of NFL fans across the country who will "never see a game live." The league is putting "significant effort into playing games in England and Mexico City, so it should find a way to make the game accessible to those fans living in smaller markets" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/11).
ALL TALK, NO ACTION: BLEACHER REPORT's Mike Freeman wrote the hiring of Mike Mayock as Raiders GM and the interest in NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah and ESPN's Todd McShay for front-office roles illustrates that the Rooney Rule "continues to fail miserably, not just in trying to diversify the coaching ranks but also front offices." Teams are "using the Rooney Rule as cover, and then hiring whomever they want, instead of as an instrument to affect change." Until the NFL and owners "start taking the rule seriously and not merely as a convenient sound bite, it will carry as little value as the paper it was written on" (BLEACHERREPORT.com, 6/12).