NFL Proposal Would See Players Sit Out Part Of 18-Game Schedule
Conversations around an 18-game schedule among NFL owners have "approached a new level of creativity ... with the possibilities including expanded rosters and mandating players only participate in a certain number of games," according to sources cited by Andrew Beaton of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. One idea owners have proposed is "limiting players to 16 games, to assuage health and safety concerns." That would mean even if the Chiefs played 18 games, QB Patrick Mahomes "would play in just 16 of them." The four-game preseason schedule "becomes more of a caricature every year, with star players sitting out and fans chafing at spending big bucks to see meaningless games." Swapping two of those for two more regular-season weeks "could be a boon." A source said that players view the proposal in which they would have to sit games as "unrealistic because key players would be unwilling to ride the bench when the stakes are so high." Another bargaining sessions is "scheduled for next week" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/12).
INTENT TO REACH NEW DEAL: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said reaching a new CBA deal by the start of the ’19 season is “certainly our intent.” He said the current CBA has “worked very well, mainly for our fans, but also for our players and our clubs." Goodell: "We have the structure of a system that works quite well. We’re continuing that dialogue. There are obviously changes we want on both sides.” On the issue of the potential 18-game season and the safety implications, he said, “We always talk about, ‘How do we restructure our season?’ … The steps we’ve made to make our game safer and better have worked tremendously well in collaboration with our players. … We had a 30% reduction in concussions last year” (CNBC.com, 7/11).
OFFICIAL TIMEOUT: ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert cited sources as saying that the NFL has put its full-time officials program "on hold" as part of ongoing labor talks with the NFL Referees Association. Barring a turn in negotiations, the decision means the NFL will "revert to its previous structure of using a full roster of officials whose employment status is part-time." The move represents a "step backward for coaches, players and fans who have implored the NFL to use every means available to improve its officiating" (ESPN.com, 7/11).