The NFL has broached the idea of an 18-game season before, and some believe that it’s an inevitability that will eventually come. Commissioner Roger Goodell certainly gave some credence to those theories on Tuesday, when he spoke at the 2013 Spring League Meeting in Boston.
“As I have said before, I think the structure of the season is something that we consistently reevaluate,” said Goodell. “I have been quite open about [indicating that] we have to address the quality of the preseason. I hear from fans consistently that they want to make every NFL event more valuable. They see the preseason as being less valuable to them because they don’t see the best players and the games do not count. We have to address that, whether we are looking at 18 [regular-season games] and two [preseason games] or 16-and-two and expanded playoffs. They are all on the table and things we are going to evaluate.”
Earlier this week, the news broke that the NFL is planning to move its annual draft to the middle of May. Some view that as a sign that greater changes are coming to the timing of the league’s season.
However, the NFL Players association has largely opposed an 18-game season. Particularly in light of the recent emphasis on head injuries and concussions, a longer season is seen as more opportunities to get hurt. The players tend to view the length of the season as a grind, as it is.
As an alternative to expanding the regular season, the NFL has also floated the possibility of expanding the playoff structure, instead.