Sports Specs with Sam

    A change to the NFL’s season and playoffs being discussed in collective bargaining negotiations

    Sam Janssen

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    A significant change to the NFL’s schedule and playoff structure is being proposed in the most recent collective bargaining agreement negotiations.

    The owners approved the new terms last week and now will wait on the players to vote sometime next week.

    The new agreement will propose adding one game to the regular season schedule, which would increase the number to 17 games. This would result in the removal of one of the four preseason games.

    It also proposes that one more team from each conference would make the playoffs, resulting in 7 playoff teams from each conference and only one team getting a first round bye instead of the current set-up, in which two teams from each conference get a bye week.

    It also proposes an increased revenue share for players from 47 to 48 percent and 48.5 percent if they accept the move up to a 17-game regular season.

    The owners from all 32 teams met last Thursday in New York City and voted on these terms. 24 out of the 32 needed to vote in favor of it for the new agreement to pass.

    The vote was reportedly not unanimous — but did pass — and now the players need to place a vote before it becomes official.

    The new league year starts in March, so it is understood that if an agreement isn’t reached by that point, the league will operate under the current CBA for this final year and wait until next off-season to negotiate again, which will be right before the previous ten-year agreement expires.

    Each team has a player representative for the players union and two-thirds of the player reps and a majority of all NFL players would need to vote “yes” for it to pass.

    The players do not appear to be in favor of the addition of another regular season game due to concerns about injury risk and physical wear and tear in an already long season in a tough sport.

    JJ Watt, the star defensive end for the Houston Texans, tweeted he was a “hard no” on the proposed CBA.

    Richard Sherman, the cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers, voiced his support for Watt’s opinion and encouraged players to communicate with their team reps to voice their own concerns.

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and league officials say the game has never been safer and that player safety is the top priority.

    A move to increase the length of the season would not be consistent with this sentiment.

    Additionally, one of the reasons the NFL is such a great sport to watch is because every game is so meaningful.

    In leagues like MLB, the NBA and the NHL, there are so many games that there isn’t the same amount of intensity riding on each game as there is in the NFL.

    Adding more playoff teams and making the season longer will take away from this idea of every game being so meaningful in the NFL season.

    The expanded playoffs would also mean a lot of very average teams would be making the playoffs every year, which could make for some pretty bad playoff matchups.

    For example, if this format were in place last year, the 8-8 Pittsburgh Steelers and the 9-7 Los Angeles Rams would have made the playoffs and neither one played like a playoff caliber team last year.

    However, the NFL sees the financial benefit that can come from the revenue of having more games and more playoff teams.

    The vote of the team representatives is expected to come this week and if it passes a vote will happen with all of the players to decide the agreement’s fate.

    Janssen can be reached at [email protected].