I read this in the Washington Post
Longer Regular Season 'Is Coming'
DANA POINT, Calif.--The NFL appears well on its way to lengthening its regular season.
A tentative proposal to increase the regular season from 16 to 17 or 18 games per team--and to reduce the preseason by a corresponding number of games--wasn't voted on by the franchise owners at the annual league meeting that ended here today. But it was discussed in some detail, and several owners said there was little to practically no opposition.
"I think we're heading in that direction," New York Giants co-owner John Mara said.
Mara said he favors a 16-game regular season but has little company among the owners in holding that view.
"I don't know if there is anyone else," Mara said. "... I just think it's pretty tough on the health of your players late in the season... but it [a longer regular season] is coming."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said there is "a very strongly held view both internally and with our fans" to go to a longer regular season and shorten the preseason.
"I think the feedback we had is we can do this and do it effectively," Goodell said.
Goodell reiterated that the owners could vote on the measure in May at their scheduled spring meeting.
The league also will discuss the proposal with the television networks, Goodell said. The measure has such widespread support among the owners in large part because of their belief that more regular season games would bring higher TV rights fees.
"I think it's a really interesting conversation that's ongoing," said Steve Tisch, the Giants' other co-owner. "The fans have indicated they'd like to see changes to the preseason, and ownership is very interested in the discussions.... We're going to pick it up again in May. It will be a topic that we'll probably focus on more then than we did here."
The measure probably would not be enacted before the 2011 season.
Goodell and several owners said it's not yet clear whether the league will propose a 17-game or an 18-game regular season.
"I don't have a feel for that," Mara said. "We haven't done any type of poll."
A 17-game season could mean increased play at international sites during the season's extra weekend. But most owners seem to favor an 18-game season to allow each club to play nine games each at home and on the road.
The owners still must sort through several issues connected to a longer regular season, such as possible changes to the roster size and rules governing the injured reserve list. Goodell said it's possible that the NFL eventually will form a developmental league to compensate for the playing-time opportunities for younger players that would be lost with a shorter preseason.
A longer regular season also could lead to suggestions that the playoff field be expanded, perhaps from 12 to 14 teams, to offset the possibility of having more games at the end of the regular season without playoff implications. But Goodell said he considers a longer regular season and an expanded playoff field "two separate issues."
Said Goodell: "I don't think it's required as part of restructuring the season, to expand the playoffs."
"For future reference, I was sort of hoping for a suggestion that didn't sound like it came from that Bolshevik Muppet with all the dynamite.”
- Jim Butcher