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Goodell Defends Longer Season

During a panel discussion today featuring the commissioners of the four major U.S. pro sports leagues, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defended the league's proposed lengthening of its regular season.

Goodell was asked during the discussion, which was hosted in New York by the Wall Street Journal and carried online, whether the NFL would be risking an increase in the number of injuries suffered by players.

"We are playing a 20-game season now," Goodell said, stressing that the total number of preseason and regular season games would not be increased. He also said the league's research has shown that "the injury rate goes down later in the season."

Goodell and many franchise owners have expressed support for a proposal to increase the regular season from 16 to 17 or 18 games per team, and reduce the preseason by a corresponding number of games.

The owners might vote on the proposal during a meeting later this month in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Goodell and the owners have indicated they will address the issue with the players' union during the two sides' labor negotiations.

A longer regular season might push the Super Bowl later into February. But Goodell doesn't seem concerned, making the point today that pro football has the shortest season of the four sports.

"Our season is 27 weeks start to finish," Goodell said. "... The length of our season would not really change."

During a lighthearted exchange, NBA Commissioner David Stern said: "As a season ticket holder of the Giants, I love August football. February was meant to be NBA and NHL all-star time."

By Mark Maske  |  May 6, 2009; 10:32 AM ET  | Category:  League Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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We're in a recession and the proposal sounds more like a grab of revenue from the NHL and the NBA. Fans will not go out the during January to watch teams that have losing records. Cold weather and injuries are a factor too.

Posted by: kevin_m_clay@yahoo.com | May 6, 2009 5:04 PM

one word Acoberst1, "money".

Posted by: goodtogo28 | May 6, 2009 3:14 PM

There are a lot of issues that must be dealt with to extend the season, but on the surface I like it a lot. The players association will argue for more money because players will be "playing" more games. The league could easily mitigate this demand by expanding rosters by five slots, raising the salary cap to accommodate those additional players, raising the veteran minimum salary, instituting a rookie salary cap system, and perhaps exempting some portion of guaranteed money from the cap (making it more appealing for teams to have players actually play out their contacts). These changes will benefit average players, the guys who spend two to six years in the league under minimum deals.

Posted by: tkoho | May 6, 2009 3:07 PM

What Goodell doesn't mention is that the extra one or two regular season games *would* take more of a toll on players, because the preseasons games they would replace mostly feature scrubs just trying to make the team. Adding one or two more games-that-count each year would result in more injuries to starting players and more wear and tear even to uninjured players. Sure, the season is shorter than basketball or baseball, but then those sports don't feature head-on collisions on every play.

I just don't see the point to it. The NFL is a runaway success as it is. Why tinker around with the basic formula?

Posted by: acoberst1 | May 6, 2009 11:58 AM

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