The NFL has been pushing for an 18 game regular season schedule since the collective bargaining agreement negotiations began. The proposal, made in an effort to increase revenue by adding more product to the league’s portfolio, was met with vehement disagreement by the players, with worries about healthy at the forefront. A 16 game schedule already exacts a toll on the player’s bodies, and an 18 game schedule, along with the playoffs, increases the likelihood players will break down sooner, shortening careers.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said an 18 game proposal was going nowhere, and is off the table in negotiations. Smith cited health and safety concerns while shooting down the idea on Wednesday.
“First of all, the league has never presented a formal proposal for 18 games,” he told SI.com. “But more importantly, it’s something that our players don’t want. Eighteen games is not in the best interest of our players’ safety, so we’re not doing it.”
The main point of contention is still revenue sharing, with the NFL and NFLPA reportedly about $1 billion apart in negotiations. The owners had been pushing for an 18 game schedule, though it was never formally proposed, according to Smith. In the end, it’s still about money, with the NFLPA imploring the league to open its financial records before negotiating further.
The two sides will continue to negotiate through Friday following last week’s extension of the current CBA, preventing a lockout. If a deal is not reached by then, the NFLPA and owners could agree to another extension, or the owners could vote to lock the players out.
Stay tuned to our NFL lockout StoryStream for the latest on the negotiations as more becomes available.