The League

Dan Levy
Sports Media Guru

Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

Don't Dilute the Season

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Last week I mentioned that a six-month work year seemed awfully short for someone making millions of dollars. So it stands to reason that I'd be in favor of extending the NFL season another two games.

But enough is enough. We don't need to add two more weeks to the schedule to make 18 regular season games. Enough guys get hurt. Enough teams end the season with their third-stringers starting all over the field. Enough teams play out the string when its obvious they won't be making the playoffs. The league has already marginalized enough.

Now, I've said before that an 8-8 team making the playoffs may not be a bad thing for the league. It shows that on any given week a team can win a game and in any given season a team can go on a run and be the champion. But those champions would, in turn, devalue the very idea of the Championship.

For example, people are upset that the NCAA tournament is boring this year because the Sweet Sixteen is very close to chalk. But that's the goal of the tournament. Get the four best teams to the Final Four to determine the winner. That said, it's a great story -- and people get excited -- when a hot team goes on a run, even if ultimately it isn't providing us with a true National Champion for that year. It provides the "team that got hot at the right time and won a trophy." Gary Williams, you're welcome.

The NCAA system isn't perfect. It won't always give us a true National Champion. But it works for college basketball. With so many teams and so many conferences it'd be impossible to decide on a National Champion any other way. (You hear that BCS?)

But in the NFL, things are more balanced. Salaries are capped. Schedules are made by the league. It's much more controllable.

We want the best team to be the champion, right? Fine, we all want the team we root for to be the champion. But theoretically, the goal of the regular season is to have the best teams qualify for a playoff tournament to decide the annual league champion. In other words, the goal is to find the best team each year. Does anyone think the San Diego Chargers were the best team last year? No, but they qualified for the playoffs, giving themselves just as much chance as any other playoff team to be named champion -- despite winning the same number of games as they lost.

Think about what would have happened if the Chargers and Broncos finished the season with two more games, and each team lost both of those games. The AFC West Champion would have been 8-10 and made the playoffs.

The point is, more football is always seems good. As soon as the season is over we want the next to start. But I don't think devaluing the regular season anymore make sense.

By Dan Levy  |  March 25, 2009; 12:08 PM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I agree. I love football, but the 16 game formula seems right, and two extra games would indeed dilute the season and no doubt lead to more serious injuries. The NFL has done a great job of balancing many different factors over the years; but this is just pure greed, not in the game's best interest. It's probably inevitable, but I hate to see it.

Posted by: gadstian | March 26, 2009 1:02 PM

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