Just Accept the NFL’s 18-Game Regular Season Is Happening

Roger Goodell is willing to chop a game from the preseason to make up for it

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at the 2024 NFL Draft. He recently spoke about expanding the regular season to 18 games.
Roger Goodell wants even more NFL football on the calendar.
Gregory Shamus/Getty

Speaking about what he believed to be the NFL’s (now mostly realized) goal of becoming a 24/7 product that’s consumed 365 days per year, NBA owner Mark Cuban once said, “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I’m just telling you, when you’ve got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you.”

That comment was made about a decade ago and the public has yet to turn on league commissioner Roger Goodell and Co. as the NFL is continuing to bring in the bacon beyond anyone’s expectations, as the league continues to expand with international games (up to eight next season), a Black Friday game and multiple Christmas Day matchups that offer direct competition to what has typically been the NBA’s time to shine.

“Holidays are what we do,” Goodell said during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show last week when asked about the league’s Christmas strategy. “We go where the fans are. I don’t ask permission for that.”

Apparently not. But for some reason he’s still dissatisfied with everything the NFL has got, as Goodell and the league are readying themselves to go for more by adding an 18th game to a regular-season schedule that expanded to 17 contests just three seasons ago.

Talking with McAfee, Goodell said he could envision a future where the league cuts a preseason game and adds a week to the regular season, therefore allowing the Super Bowl to be played a week later over Presidents’ Day weekend so some fans can enjoy the Monday after the game without work. The move would likely force the NBA’s annual All-Star festivities and the Daytona 500, which typically take place over Presidents’ Day weekend, to move.

“I think we’re good at 17 now,” Goodell said. “But, listen, we’re looking at how we continue. I’m not a fan of the preseason. The reality is, I’d rather replace a preseason game with a regular-season game any day. That’s just picking quality. If we get to 18 and two, that’s not an unreasonable thing.”

Unreasonable or not, there’s little doubt that it is going to happen as Goodell and the rest of the league’s brass seem to feel it is their manifest destiny to expand the league’s schedule of games and events to the point where there is truly no NFL-free portion of the calendar — or the world. Given how rapidly, and easily, the NFL has grown in the past decades, it’s actually hard to imagine a future where the league doesn’t expand to a regular season with 18 games. And then 19. And 20.

For what it’s worth, Joe Burrow is down — if there are two byes.

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