While league executives may be on board for expanding the season, it will take a lot to sway the NFL Players Association.
There has been talk of adding two more games to push the current 16-game NFL season to 18. A number of the league’s 32 owners are in favor of revisiting the idea, or considering an expanded playoff field, as the NFL and NFLPA begin to ramp up negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.
However, NFLPA executive DeMaurice Smith doesn’t see this benefiting the players.
“I don’t see an 18-game schedule — under any circumstance — being in the best interest of our players,” Smith told ESPN on Friday. “If somebody wants to make an 18-game proposal, we’ll look at it. I haven’t seen anything that makes me think that it would be good for the players.”
Smith did confirm a Wall Street Journal report stating the league brought the idea to early negotiations. But, he doubled down on his stance and doesn’t see it happening.
“Fans and media discuss what would happen to ratings and revenue or whether (18 games) is a good idea or bad idea. For us, it comes down to who players are as men and is it good for us,” Smith said. “If a coal miner is willing to spend more time in the hole, does it likely result in more money? Yeah. Is that a good thing for him as a person? Probably not. That’s the question nobody confronts. It’s easy to say it’s more money. But is it good for us? The answer is no.”
The current collective bargaining agreement will end after the 2020 season and the expanded schedule is just one of the topics both parties will discuss.
Owners also appear willing to make adjustments to the union on the commissioner’s disciplinary authority and the league’s marijuana policy.