Apr 7, 2009
Each year about half way through the playoffs, I find myself slightly depressed because I realize just how few games are left in the season. For 22 weeks of the year, there is something to look forward to every weekend. Wins and losses are easier to deal with in other sports with the teams playing much longer seasons. NFL games are events that are built up every week. Every day leading up to gameday we find ourselves monitoring injury reports, game plans, and fantasy projections. A win in the NFL can boost your entire week, while one loss can make you feel like a season is in shambles. The emotional investment in our teams is so great since there aren’t chances to see them all the time, but that is what makes the league so special. Unfortunately, Roger Goodell disagrees, and has proposed an extended season.
Football is so popular because it is always in demand. Most fans get to see their teams play 16 times, then wait NINE MONTHS to see them again, and are completely fine with that. That’s what makes the games so meaningful, so why try to water that down? Goodell says that preseason games are not up to the standards of the league, but who says they are supposed to be? No one wants their stars risking injury playing meaningless football, and that is understandable. I would have no problem with the preseason being shortened by a game or two, but that does not mean they should be replaced by regular season games. Injuries are already prevalent enough over the season as it is, so why risk even more.
The linemen that play in the trenches are the ones that I’d worry about the most over an extended season because no one realizes how banged up they get. If they can’t play at their best, quarterbacks will be left unprotected, and that makes them susceptible to injury. Let’s say it’s Week Nineteen, and the Giants are a win away from the top seed in the NFC. Their O-Line is beat up from the extended season and rough NFC East schedule, so they are not at their best. Eli Manning takes the snap, and is immediately crushed by DeMarcus Ware, who had no problem coming off the end. Manning ends up with a separated shoulder, making him questionable for the playoffs. You play that long of a season just to see it go up smoke. Does the league really want to see one of their stars go down just before the playoffs because his line was too beat up from the long season to protect him?
What is so wrong with the way things are right now? Have we ever clamored for the need to overhaul the NFL schedule? The league has already been watered down enough with games being played three days a week before Thanksgiving, which has cut down on the amount of Saturday games late in the season when there is no college football to watch. There are plenty of other problems that the league has to deal with like a possibly uncapped 2010 season, which would be followed by a possible work stoppage in 2011. It would be difficult to extend a season that may not even exist.