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Volume 26 No. 208
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NFL CBA Talks Could Shorten Preseason, Expand Playoffs

There is "increasing conviction within the NFL to shorten the preseason," and a possible change to the format "could take effect" by summer '21, according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. This change probably would "need to be accompanied by an expansion of the playoff field or regular season to offset the revenue lost from cutting one to two preseason games per team." Sources said that this possibility is being "discussed as part of ongoing negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement between" the NFLPA and league owners. Some of the options being discussed "include the lengthening of the regular season from 16 games to 17 or 18 or the expansion of the playoff field from 12 teams to 14." Sources said that some owners "have not given up on getting players to agree to an 18-game season," but the union's "ongoing resistance is increasingly likely to turn the focus to adding playoff games." But, it is "unclear" whether owners might "push for a 17-game regular season if the NFLPA remains adamantly opposed to 18 and whether the players would be receptive." Owners "have the right, in their view, to shorten the preseason and expand the playoffs without the union's consent." The NFL has "acknowledged the lack of quality of preseason games for close to a decade." But players and union leaders have "expressed strong public opposition to an 18-game season" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/29).