The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Would you be in favor of an 18-game regular season with only two preseason games?
In terms of viewership, it would obviously be beneficial for viewership and finances for the league to expand the regular season to 18 games. This is probably something that is never going to happen, at least not in the near future, but it comes up every time the Collective Bargaining Agreement creeps closer to expiring.
While it might be nice in theory, there are so many complications, both practical and otherwise, with expansion of the regular season that it’s just inconceivable to imagine it will take place. For one thing, the NFL would have to make some colossal concessions to the NFLPA to get that to happen, and they hate giving anything up they’re not privately in favor of giving up anyway.
But let’s assume the two sides could actually work it out, and we do get a 20-game schedule that consists of 18 games in the regular season and then an abbreviated, two-game preseason. Would you consider this preferable after factoring in things like the increased possibility of injuries, the lack of preparedness for the start of the season due to the shortened exhibition period, and any other factors that you can come up with?
It’s worth noting that the CFL does play an 18-game regular season with three preseason games, so it’s not as though the notion is unprecedented in the world of professional, organized football. Of course, there are many differences between the two leagues, not the least of which is the presence of the union.
Expanding the regular season would in all likelihood increase salaries across the league, as there would be more money to split, making the year one-eighth longer. That is one thing players could be in favor for, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen an active player say it’s a good idea.