Fresh off of another few weeks of almost completely meaningless games, it would appear that the NFL is looking to chop off a few pre-season games and add two more regular season games to the schedule, bringing the total number of games teams will play in a season to eighteen. In my opinion, getting rid of useless pre-season games can only be a good thing. Pre-season consists of four (or five!) mostly meaningless games that in total may come out to four quarters of real football and increase the odds of important players getting hurt before opening day. Sure it gives coaches a chance to evaluate their players, but they could probably do the same over two games, and still give their backups a chance to prove themselves. Animosity to the pre-season is pretty common and has been for a long time, but about nobody could envision the NFL ditching games that still manage to make them money, whatever the uselessness of those games. So their solution is apparently to, in conjunction with ditching pre-season games, add two more regular season games to the schedule. In case you're wondering, the last time the NFL added two games to the schedule was the 1978 season, thirty years ago. The sixteen game season then has long been the standard, to the point now where quite a few people (myself included) consider sixteen games to be the "right" number of games for the sport. What are two more games going to do for the season? Ditching two pre-season games in favor of two regular season games-which starters will of course play in-only increases the odds of injury to players. It increases the wear-and-tear on every player, all of whom beging to suffer aches and pains as the season drags on. Perhaps it increases the amount of time that we spend speculating about bad teams actually making the playoffs, but can the addition of two games really make a difference as far as which teams see the post-season? I doubt it. So basically we'll see two more games that, instead of being meaningless are actually highly meaningful, but the impact of those games is reduced by the fact that the teams already have sixteen other games to sort out who's good and who isn't.
Of course as you can probably tell from the very fact I'm writing this post, I am something of a football fan. So why do I have a problem with two more chances to watch NFL football in a season? After all, it's not like I'm going to boycott the last two games of the season (maybe the first though.) Call me a traditionalist (at least in the sports sense) but I think sixteen games works, and I don't see the need to milk fans out of money anymore than the NFL already does each season. But I suppose I'll probably be writing this exact same post with my thought-reading brain computer in 2038 when the NFL expands the season to twenty games.