As the league and player’s association have begun preliminary discussions regarding a new collective bargaining agreement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed his desire to shorten the NFL preseason in the coming future.
Goodell stated to Josh Reed of WIVB Sports in Buffalo that the NFL should always display the highest quality product, and he’s “not sure” the games meet that quality minimum right now.
Since 1978, the NFL season has contained 16 regular season games and four exhibition games. Although it has been long rumored that NFL preseason games may be shortened, today’s comments from Goodell make it appear that this change could happen sooner than later.
For most NFL fans, the news of a shortened preseason should be music to their ears. Year after year, NFL teams watch players go down with injuries in these predominately meaningless football games. Although players on the roster bubble benefit from the NFL preseason, it appears preseason games would not be eliminated entirely. Therefore, it will still provide an opportunity for hopeful players to showcase their talent in exhibition games.
With talks of a reduced preseason on the table, it’s important to keep in mind that the NFL is a business. Although fan attendance and viewership of NFL preseason games are weak, it still provides a strong source of profit for the league, even if it’s not nearly as much as regular season games.
If the NFL decides to reduce the number of preseason games from four to two, it opens the possibility of extending the regular season to 18 games, which has also been rumored for quite some time.