NFL – The Positives and Negatives of an 18 Game Schedule


I have heard talk show hosts like Rich Eisen or Dan Patrick discuss the issue of bringing up a system of two games in preseason and eighteen in the regular season, meaning the preseason would be truncated. It sounds like NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is not a big proponent of having a lot of exhibition play. With an eighteen game regular season, there would be more games for the fans, and it would help people that work in the stadiums, bars would get more customers. Team fan bases that meet up on Sundays would get a chance to be together more frequently at local restaurants. The league wants to stay in the national spotlight year-round, and that would help.

From what I understand, the preseason games are still charged to fans to go at full price and the owners would want their portion of the revenue. They would not want two fewer preseason games and sixteen games because that’s two games that they would not get their pay. Thus having less than a total of twenty games would not serve their best interest. It helps that lots of fans are addicted to watching professional football during the fall and winter. In fact,  it is the most popular sport in the United States.


Under an eighteen game regular season, many games will be less important. If only twelve teams make the postseason, with more games added to the 256 that is currently played, there will be more meaningless games involving teams that are not in the chase to get in. Major League Baseball seasons are played over 162 games, while the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League have 82 games.

What separates the National Football League from most of the other major professional sports is the analysis and overreaction of the previous game. Also, the anticipation of the next game. With fewer games played, there is a feeling of great importance with every passing week. So why abandon what has worked so well for decades? The record books would be viewed differently when trying to compare different eras. Outside of the strike-shortened seasons of 1982 and 1987, most of the Super Bowl era has consisted of the same amount of games played to this day.

Currently, there are sixteen regular season games and four preseason games played in the NFL. That does not include the possibility of three or four playoff contests which could total the number to twenty-four. It would be a big risk in terms of health to add more games. Especially with the heightened awareness of concussions and injuries. If the league adds more games, it suggests that player safety is not of utmost importance. Players need the offseason to get healed in the hopes of getting ready for the next year. Football is a very demanding sport.

How do you feel about the NFL playing an 18 game season? Leave a comment below.

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