DeMaurice Smith
DeMaurice Smith shuts down idea of 18 Game NFL schedule (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

NFL owners have recently submitted an idea for an 18 game NFL schedule. At first glance, that seems a bit aggressive. Then at a closer look, players would only be permitted to play 16 of the 18 game schedule. Not a terrible idea by any means. NFL Players Association President DeMaurice Smith shut down that idea in a hurry.

“I don’t see an 18-game schedule — under any circumstance — being in the best interest of our players,” Smith told Cameron Wolfe of ESPN. “If somebody wants to make an 18-game proposal, we’ll look at it. I haven’t seen anything that makes me think that it would be good for the players.”

“Fans and media discuss what would happen to ratings and revenue or whether [18 games] is a good idea or bad idea,” Smith told ESPN. “For us, it comes down to who players are as men and is it good for us. If a coal miner is willing to spend more time in the hole, does it likely result in more money? Yeah. Is that a good thing for him as a person? Probably not. That’s the question nobody confronts. It’s easy to say it’s more money. But is it good for us? The answer is no.”

“Why is it our job to figure out how to make 18 games work as players?” Smith said. “You tell someone you’re going to work longer and you figure out how to make it work? That doesn’t work. It’s not our job to put that square peg in the round hole.”

I hate to side with the greedy owners. I really do. However, there’s nothing not to like with an 18 game season where players can only play in 16 games. Maybe it’s just a bargaining tactic. I really don’t know. I think this is a fantastic advantage for the players. Smith uses the analogy of a coal miner spending more time in the hole. I don’t think that’s true. Essentially, this deal is giving players more money for the exact same amount of games played. There’s no scenario where this doesn’t help the players. Smith needs to get his head checked.

Think about all the advantages here. 18 games creates more revenue compared to 16 games. That’s not arguable. If you cut one or two of the meaningless preseason games, then the season isn’t being lengthened either. Giving the players two extra bye weeks during the season also probably makes some sense too. Having those essential bye weeks during the season rather than the preseason sounds like a great idea to me. You’re also creating more jobs too. Expanding rosters would have to be a must. Players would get more of an opportunity that wouldn’t otherwise. Think of all the backup quarterbacks that could cash in on big pay days if they have a lights out two weeks during the season? Selfishly, fantasy football would become more challenging too during bye weeks.

I could see being hesitant to go for this kind of deal. No need to rush. However, Smith seems totally against it and his analogy sucks. I would love to see this get done. The NFL essentially figured out a way to provide load management for players without trying. What more can you ask for?