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Despite Player Objections, Look For More NFL Regular Season, Playoff Games

J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans looks on from the sidelines during the AFC Divisional playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on January 12, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NFL is on the verge of some major changes that could go into effect as soon as the 2020 season, which would include a 17-game schedule, one more playoff team per conference, and less preseason games.

The owners agreed to these changes, plus more, and now the NFL Players Association is looking over the deal, but the group decided to delay a vote to discuss this proposal in more detail.

Everyone loves the NFL and most of it seems to be a no-brainer from the fan side of things. Fans would get to watch more meaningful football, owners would make more money, but the players are concerned about player safety with that extra game being played plus other items within the proposal.

Is An Expanded Playoff Better?

KSL Sports’ Scott Mitchell knows the NFL well by being a 12-year veteran and has been through collective bargaining agreements in the league. He can speak from a former player perspective and now as a fan of the league.

“I know the players don’t want this. The players don’t want this extra game but, yes, more teams want to be in the playoffs,” Mitchell said. “This is changing the whole dynamic of the season. I am in favor of having an expanded season, shortened preseason, and an expanded playoff system.”

The one big change is adding an extra team to the playoffs in each conference and that would lead to just one team in the AFC and NFC to receive a bye. It would allow teams at the bottom to get into the playoffs. The one big concern would be the teams with a losing record making it to the most exclusive playoffs in American sports.

Mitchell at first was not a fan of adding that extra playoff team because looking at sports like the NBA and NHL that not only have over half of the league make the playoffs but teams with losing records are rewarded.

“I don’t really want this and want 7-9 or 8-8 teams in the playoffs. When you get down to those five and six seeds you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel, ” Mitchell said. “The reality is that there is an echelon of some really good teams, maybe four in the entire league.

“Everyone else is just glommed together and if things go the right way you are going to win nine or 10 games and if it goes the wrong way a team would win seven games. These teams are evenly matched,” Mitchell continued.

One concern is having those potential losing teams make a deep run into the playoffs and maybe even get to the Super Bowl. There have been Wild Card and six-seeded teams have gone onto win the Super Bowl. The most notable lower seeds to win the Super Bowl was the fifth-seeded New York Giants who defeated the undefeated New England Patriots to win the 2008 Super Bowl.

Don’t Players Want More Money?

Money is a big deal to NFL players since the average time spent in the league is not very long and this new deal would provide not only a 20 percent increase to the league minimum salary but there would be more money given to the players with more inventory to sell to the TV networks. Also, one proposal is to add two more roster spots to help provide depth with an extra regular-season game.

“I don’t know why the players would complain about this, they get more money,” Mitchell said. “[The proposed deal] goes from 46 percent to 48 percent of the revenue is shared, so they get more of the revenue. That is $5 billion of extra revenue that is generated for one extra game over a five-year period.”

Not every player wants to trade off more money for safety but that could be coming from those who are already making a ton of money like Houston Texans linebacker J.J. Watt who is not a fan of this deal.

However, Watt is one of the highest-paid players in the league at his position and has endorsements, but what about the guys who make the league minimum? Just over half of the league earns that amount so getting a big pay bump would help them and others who spend just a few years in the league.

Talks are still ongoing as the NFLPA wants to discuss this over more with its members as there are things here and there they want to tweak to get them a better deal. However, most experts on this topic expect there to be no work stoppage or games missed for the 2021 season.

Games missed is the biggest topic when it comes to fans caring about a contract negotiation between millionaires and billionaires. Beyond that, the casual fan does not care if the owners and players make more money but all fans want is to have the NFL on their television sets in the fall.

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