Moving to an 18-Game Season

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Here's a cool piece by Dave Zirin on the labor issues involved in the NFL amping up the number of regular season games. Zirin flags this quote from Roger Goddell:


This past week, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross showed why many owners choose to let National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell do their talking for them. Ross spoke out for the logic of extending the current 16 game season to 18 games, saying, "The additional games, the studies show will not really increase injuries. We're still playing 20 games, we're eliminating two preseason games and adding two regular-season games, which is really what helps with the revenues, and make the fans a lot happier and those games will be a lot more meaningful. But in terms of the players, they're still playing 20 games."

Like Zirin, I just don't know how this could be true. You almost certainly are talking about more time on the field for your star players. In pre-season, it's not uncommon for starters to play less then a half. Zirin also talked to DeMaurice Smith:

"...There's an 18 game proposal from the NFL that we have looked at - we're going to respond to it,- but there are some things that are inviolate. When I show up at a team meeting and I've got half the guys sitting in a conference room wrapped up in ice, three or four guys already on crutches, well anybody who wants to know how brutal this game is, show up at a team meeting on a Monday morning after a Sunday game where you watch some of the best athletes in the world tip-toe down two steps , where if you want to shake hands, you had better be gentle. So it's not an enhanced season, as the owner's call it. It's two more end of the season games where players are already beat up, nicked up, and knocked out."
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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