There's been a lot of talk recently about extending the NFL season from 16 to 18 games. It looks as though the owners have made this a non-negotiable item as owners and players try to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement.
Players have been less than enthusiastic. From Hines Ward to Ray Lewis to Tom Brady, players seem pretty pissed about the idea. They claim they will sustain more injuries.
Normally I live by Tom Brady's teachings, but this is crap. Under the current schedule, each team plays 4 preseason and 16 regular season games, with one bye week. Under the new proposal, each team would play 2 preseason and 18 regular season games, with most likely two bye weeks. The total number of games either way is 20. Dirty little secret: players get hurt in preseason games, too. There will most likely be the same number of injuries. Plus, an extra week off gives players extra time to heal.
An 18-game schedule will be a win for the fans, who have to buy the two meaningless preseason games as part of the season ticket packages. That's like forcing someone to buy a TV that gets crappy reception on CBS. It's bad business.
And, memo to Hines Ward: nobody's forcing you to play. You've had a good career. You can always walk away from the game. But if you play pro football, the potential exists for injuries and post-career complications. You know full well that's what you signed up for when you started playing football. If it bothers you that much, retire.
(Tom Brady, if you happen to read this, please don't retire.)