Major League Baseball has 162 games, the NBA has 82 games and the NFL only has 16 games. What’s with that, some say? Hey, it used to be 12, then 14 and now we’re talking 18. It’s too many. Period. Butkus and Ditka are gimpy, Sayers retired at 28, Aikman had multiple concussions and Earl Campbell is in a wheelchair. The pounding in pro football is FEROCIOUS!
Baseball is meant to be played every day. While a 162 game schedule can be grueling and the players certainly do wear down, it’s not near as tough on the body as some other sports. Basketball can be wearing as well, especially on the legs, but it can be played effectively every other day. Players need to rest their legs between games. But football? One game a week baby, you can’t play more than that. It’s just too physical. I know what you’re thinking, “They already play 4 preseason games and 16 regular season games. Just switch it to 2 preseason and 18 regular season games. It will be the same. Besides, fans don’t like preseason games.” As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend.” You cannot compare a preseason game with a regular season game. The starters don’t stay in the entire game and don’t take near the punishment. They play a few series, maybe a half, and then the guys trying to make the team take over.
Think back to when you and I played the game a few years back. Heck, I can remember when I was in high school, I was nicked up and a little beat up by game 6 or 7. By the time game 10 came, we all needed a little break. I used to wake up on Saturday morning a little stiff and sore, but no big deal. I was also 17 years old, not 25 or 30. We all know that as we get older, it takes longer to bounce back. By the time we’re in our early 20’s we’re not kids anymore. And at every level of football the hitting intensifies. At the high school level, sophomores hit harder than freshmen. The varsity hits much harder than the sophomores. College hits much harder than high school, and the pros hit harder than college. Now, add to that that these are grown men, not kids. They are bigger, faster, and stronger than ever. The collisions are bone shattering. I don’t know how these guys get out of bed on Monday mornings. Look at what a problem injuries are already. Teams lose players for the season in camp. Then they lose players for the season in preseason games. They’re already banged up before the season and now some want to play 18 more regular season games? I can’t imagine.
Of course, there is always the argument that there are plenty of guys standing in line waiting to fill in. Thousands of men would love the chance to have a shot at the NFL. Yes, there are always more players ready to step in. But does that justify just throwing these guys out there for an 18 game schedule that the fans want and more importantly, the owners want? Because, in the end, let’s face it, it IS all about the money. The owners aren’t about to lose their present 20 game schedule. (4 preseason, 16 regular) Are we to the point that we’re greedy for more revenue at the expense of players? Evidently so. Maybe I’m too soft. I don’t know, if I am then so be it. And I might as well add I’m worried about the direction of college football as well. When I was kid they all played a 10 game schedule. Then, they went to an 11 game schedule to add a little more revenue. A few years ago Division I went to a 12 game schedule. The desire for more money being the key, of course. Oh, and let’s expand conferences to 12 members so we can divide into divisions for a championship game. BIG money there. Now we’re at 13 games with a bowl game for a season ending game making it a 14 game schedule. And these kids aren’t pros, they’re college students. It’s all based on making more money. We had better be careful. I would hate to see us abuse the greatest team sport on earth for greedy purposes. And I haven’t even addressed the issue that we’re clamoring for a playoff in Division I football. More games, more money.
There you have it. My opinion on how many is too many. Go ahead and let me know what you think, whether you agree or not. Is there a limit? If so, what should it be at the pro level and college ball? Thanks as always to www.chiefpigskin.com for allowing me to express my views and tell my stories.