NFL Set to Expand to 17-Game Season and Players Don't Sound Too Enthused About It: 'Dumb as Hell'

Illustration for article titled NFL Set to Expand to 17-Game Season and Players Don't Sound Too Enthused About It: 'Dumb as Hell'
Photo: CHRIS DELMAS (Getty Images)

As Raekwon the Chef, Method Man and Inspectah Deck once so eloquently stated: “Cash rules everything around me! C.R.E.A.M., get the money! Dollar, dollar bill, y’all!”

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So, with the NFL more desperate than ever to increase its bottom line after COVID-19 cost teams about $4 billion in lost revenue last season, trust and believe the league has a master plan to recoup at least some of those lost earnings. And that plan involves extending the league’s 16-game schedule for the first time since 1978.

ESPN insider Adam Schefter and NBC Sports report that yes, the rumors are true: This week, owners are expected to pad their pockets by voting to extend the NFL season to 17 games. Because capitalism is the gift that keeps on giving.

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the injured get...more injured?

That sound you hear is cash registers ringing while the sky proceeds to descend into the Earth.

Naturally, NFL players aren’t exactly enthused about the opportunity to subject themselves to even more punishment at the same salary and took to Twitter to address their concerns about a league that, at this point, has made it abundantly clear that securing the bag is its only priority.

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This has all the makings of an unmitigated disaster, but aside from team owners’ pockets, does a 17-game season have any other tangible benefits? Expect the league to reduce the offseason workload of players by eliminating a preseason game or two and cutting down on practices, OTAs and minicamps, but injuries will still become far more commonplace and teams will have to adjust to resting players strategically throughout the season. There’s also the fact that with football now taking an increased toll on their bodies, careers will undoubtedly shorten and the risk of significant injury becomes far more possible. But at least billionaires like Jerry Jones and David Tepper will have some extra gas money for their $250 million super-yachts, right?

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This sorta-kinda-almost feels like the onset of the microtransaction era in video games, in which impactful gameplay enhancements can be yours for the low, low price of your PayPal login. How much enjoyment can be drawn from a sport once it transforms into a blatant cash-grab?

And while players are up in arms, who wants to be the one to remind them that they approved a 17-game season in their latest collective bargaining agreement?

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I believe this is called a “self-inflicted wound.”

Please don’t bring this bullshit to the NBA, because the season is too damn long as it is. But for those eager to find out who their team will face off against in their 17th game, ESPN’s Field Yates is graciously doing the Lord’s work:

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Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.

DISCUSSION

This is just so they can expand the playoffs, (because if they go crazy when an 11-5 team misses the playoff just imagine how crazy they’ll be when a 12-5 doesn’t make the playoff), which will lead to an 18 game schedule, which will lead to another expansion of the playoffs.

I’ve hated every single thing that’s happened under Goodell’s watch. Thursday night football, Sunday night football, the four day draft, the inexorable transformation of the NFL into Arena League football. And now this.