DeMaurice Smith Talks 18-Game Schedule

The enduring subject of an 18-game schedule has resurfaced. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith confirmed a Wall Street Journal report (subscription required) indicating the NFL has broached the subject of an 18-game season, with 16-game limits per player, during the CBA talks.

As has been the case for years when this subject has emerged, the union is not on board with adding two more regular-season games.

I don’t see an 18-game schedule — under any circumstance — being in the best interest of our players,” Smith said, via’s Cameron Wolfe. “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.”

The NFL has used a 16-game schedule since 1978. It moved from 12 to 14 in 1961. Packers president Mark Murphy (via Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio) floated the idea of a 17-game compromise, with teams having eight home games, eight road games and one neutral-site contest — which would be a gateway to more international games. The Packers president, however, is not in favor of a 17- or 18-game schedule that limits players’ participation to 16 dates, calling it “gimmicky.”

Murphy added that he would not rule out the prospect of two byes, which the league tried in 1993, and a revised schedule moving the Super Bowl to President’s Day weekend — which Florio adds the NFL has long supported. All of this would be contingent on the preseason being slashed by at least one game.

Potential issues with salaries, roster construction, additional work commitments and players’ pensions could arise with the 18/16 format, not to mention certain fan dissatisfaction for when top players must sit out certain games.

Why is it our job to figure out how to make 18 games work as players? You tell someone you’re going to work longer and you figure out how to make it work? That doesn’t work,” Smith said. “It’s not our job to put that square peg in the round hole.

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 NFL and NFLPA will reconvene from July 17-19 on their latest round of talks. Smith characterized the talks as “positive” but would not provide a timeline on their prospective conclusion. The sides want to reach an agreement before this season begins. This would come after years of Smith warning his workforce to save money in the likely event of a 2021 lockout.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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15 comments on “DeMaurice Smith Talks 18-Game Schedule

  1. crosseyedlemon

    If you shortened a game to 4 13 minute quarters then an 18 game schedule would have players spending no more time on the field than they do now.

    • Perksy

      That is interesting. If they don’t want to add more games, why not add a 2nd bye week for each team. If you pair that with starting the season one week later It would extend the season, and the Super Bowl could then be played over presidents weekend. So most would be off from work/school the next day.

  2. kaehlaone

    To me, it’s a pretty easy fix overall. Cut the preseason by two weeks, add a 17th game, and go with two bye weeks that are a fixed time apart. By that I mean you have one in the first half of season and one in second half while putting them a set time apart so they are real breaks.

    They could also eliminate the Thursday games and do a Saturday night game instead. This would eliminate short recovery time on players and doesn’t affect the majority of college games.

    • Perksy

      That’s the idea though. The NFL is all about money, and they want their sport to be year round. So adding a 2nd by week extends the season without having to play extra games. I always thought the best thing would be to have the super bowl during presidents weekend so most are off the next day. I’m definitely for getting rid of Thursday games and doing a Saturday night game. Just not sure how that would work or if it would be allowed with all the college games.

  3. teezilla

    I’ve always thought a great compromise on the Thursday night games (even thanksgiving) was to ensure the teams playing were coming off bye … having two bye weeks could help this

  4. Rich

    18 games, but players can only play in 16. Wow does that smell like a cash grab against fans. Sorry, Tom Brady/Aaron Rodgers/Patrick Mahomes won’t be playing today. I know you bought tickets 4 months ago, but too bad. Why not just go door to door and rob us at gunpoint?

    • yoyo137

      I don’t doubt for a second that robbing fans at gunpoint was a topic of discussion brought up by Roger Goodell

  5. forwhomjoshbelltolls

    “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.”

    I don’t think they should play 18 games, but for the record, 16 games isn’t good you, either.

    Kind of an arbitrary line.

  6. 70sChild

    Can the NFL just stop with the 18 game nonsense and making crazy compromises like maybe 17 games with a neutral site and maybe 16 games per player. Just chop off two preseason games if you’re that much against it and cal it a day. Owners are just gonna raise ticket prices anyway, so might as well raise them more to make up for the gate losses in the lost preseason games.

  7. johnnybadd2019

    You what go for 18 games, 75 men rosters eliminate the preseason completely because the 1st month of season is basically trash anyway. They should also add a minor league developmental system for up coming rookies ie Daniel Jones n scrubs so they can hone their skills


    Could help prevent non-vested veteran players with short term injuries from being cut. I initially thought this would be a terrible idea, but the NFLPA could probably use it as leverage to get something back from the owners.

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