I still think that a 17 game NFL season is a better option than an 18 game season. Below is a copy of my orignal post. The only update I made is about the preseason. The preseason makes it a stronger option.
The Current Season Is Unfair
As you know, there are a couple of teams each year that play 5 preseason games. Most if NFL coaches would welcome to have extra preseason games. This gives the coaches extra time to evaluate and develop players for the regular season. By having two teams play 5 preseason games is unfair to the other 30 teams.
The NFL also have a regular season game that is played on a neutral site; overseas. This past year the Broncos play the 49ers in London. This forced the 49ers to give up a home game to play in London. The other 31 teams, including the Broncos, still have all 8 of home game. This is unfair to the 49ers and to the NFL fans in San Francisco.
A Fair Season
I propose that the NFL should have a 17 game regular season; not 18 or the current 16. It will make the schedule fair for all 32 teams and it will help the NFL market its product. The teams will play the 17th game on a neutral site. Each team will play 8 home games, 8 away games, and 1 game played on a neutral site. It will eliminate a team giving up a home regular season just to play a game over seas.
The extra game can be taken away from the preseason schedule. Each NFL team will play three preseason games; 1 home game, 1 away game, and 1 game at neutral site. NFL fans in cities that do not have a NFL team might be more willing to go to a preseason game, than NFL fans that do have a NFL team in their town. If you total the number from the preseason and regular season, the total number remains the same; 20. Instead of being 4 plus 16, it will be 3 plus 17. (I do not see how the player's union can object to this.)
A Marketing Tool
Having each team play 2 games at a neutral site gives the NFL 32 games that cities around the world bid and compete for. The same way that the NCAA has cities bid and compete to host their Bowl games, conference championship, basketball tournaments, etc. Under this schedule, the NFL could award the city of Los Angeles multiple games. LA could feel like it is a NFL city without a NFL team. The current NFL cities could also compete to host these neutral site games also. NFL fans in cities that consistently sellout their home games will come out to see a NFL game, even if it is not their home team that is playing. What if the Steelers played the Packers in rematch regular season game in Dallas? Several NFL teams have a large fan base in other cities besides their home town. This may give those fans a chance to see their favorite team play in person.
- An expanded regular season for all NFL fans
- A fair regular season for all 32 NFL teams
- Neutral site will create a new marketing tool for the NFL
- Displaced fans may have a chance to go see their favorite team play
- A win/win deal for everyone