NFL News: 17-game season is too long

Nobody wanted a 17th NFL game except for the owners and commissioner, who all have dollar signs in their eyes where normal people have pupils, writes MIKE VACCARO.

Today is week 18 in the NFL, which means all NFL teams (sadly excepting Cincinnati and Buffalo) will be playing their 17th games of the season, and I’m ready to make a binding and absolute judgment on something.

The season is too long.

Nobody wanted a 17th game (except for the owners and the commissioner, who all have dollar signs in their eyes where normal people have pupils). No one asked for a 17th game (except for the owners and commissioner, who all have just one mantra: more, more, more). No one needed a 17th game (not even the owners and commissioners who light their cigars with hundred-dollar bills to play sports).

But for a second year in a row we have a 17th game.

Seventeen games don’t make sense. It never made sense. For 20 blissful years, the NFL enjoyed the rarest thing of all: the perfect schedule. Thirty-two teams. Sixteen games. Eight departments. Everything about this schedule made sense. It was almost musical in its precision, in its fairness, in its length.

Then they added a game.

And it’s not just the math that has been garbled. It was also…

Look, let’s just say it: the season feels like it’s lasted forever. This should be a playoff weekend, not one with only a few relevant games. There should be a regular season game after the New Year, then we call it a season and move on to more important matters.

Did adding a game make such a big difference?

Yes. I guess so.

And sure, all schedules are runaway wrecks to some extent. It’s hard to find even the purest baseball purist who doesn’t consider 162 games too many for a baseball season who wouldn’t prefer 154 (or even 144) to improve the quality of the game and ensure most up Athletes don’t look like hollow-eyed Ironman survivors.

NHL and NBA seasons are at least 15 games too long at 82, a number apparently set by both leagues years ago because it roughly corresponds to half a baseball schedule. We can mock maintenance days all we want, but the truth is, an NBA season is a dizzying drudgery. And while NHL players are only willing to get scratched when tied to a railroad tie, hockey season drags on too.

Now here it is important to say: This is a worthless complaint. There are many things that would improve pro sports all round that no matter how much you yell and yell, never get implemented.

Free ice cream would be nice.

Parking lots that charge less for the spaces than the actual cars occupying them would be great.

A full baseball game every few months would be great.

And also a 16-game football slate, a 154-game baseball slate, and NHL and NBA slates that sit at about 66 games.

We’re sorry. No free ice cream. No paid parking. No Old Hoss Radbourn for a new generation. And there’s no way the owners will give up revenue from the missing games on a tightened schedule – and, to be fair, if anyone in a collective bargaining meeting has ever asked player representatives to shoulder some of that burden by making prorated cuts in pay …well, the laughter that followed would be the equivalent of a packed cinema for the end credits of The Hangover.

That doesn’t mean we can’t want it. That’s not to say it wouldn’t make the sport better. That doesn’t mean we can’t wish for a playoff game this weekend as we flip through a long stack of NFL options on Season Ticket.

Week 18. Game 17. Who wanted this? You?

– New York Post NFL News: 17-game season is too long

Ryan Sederquist

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