Sports is a way for people to escape everyday life, and immerse themselves into another world. The only problem is that sometimes this other world is not as perfect as it could be. Fixing these issues would create a Sports Utopia we all long for.
The NFL is, arguably, the greatest sports league in the world. However, there are five problems with the NFL schedule, for both the fans, the players and the league itself. This article will improve the experience for all three, so listen up Mr. Goodell.
1. Duration of the Season
The NFL will have a 18 game (20 week) regular season, beginning the Thursday before Labor Day and ending with Super Bowl Sunday the day before President’s Day.
Benefit to Fans: This will get rid of 2 preseason games. The fans hate them, and season ticket holders hate paying full price for two meaningless home games. Now there is only one home preseason game.
Benefit to Players: More rest. This will be apparent with points #3 and #4.
Benefit to NFL: Ratings boost. The NFL will be able to take advantage of 8 federal holidays (which will probably go down to 7 with point #5), instead of just 6. When people have a day off from work, they socialize with friends and family and watch sports.
2. Bye Weeks
Each team will receive 2 bye weeks, one in the first 10 weeks and one in the second 10 weeks. No bye in first 2 weeks or last 2 weeks. Bye weeks must be at least 3 weeks separated from each other (i.e. If there is a bye on week 9, the other bye week would be week 12 or later).
Benefit to Fans: Not a huge benefit here for fans, other than more time for the star players of their teams to recover from injury.
Benefit to Players: More bye weeks = more rest = less injuries or more time to recover from injuries without missing games. Also, more time to spend with their families during the season.
Benefit to NFL: Less games without missing star players.
3. Thursday & International Games
Each team will have a maximum of one Thursday game and one International game, with a bye week coming before either of these games. There will be no Thursday game in weeks 2, 19, or 20. There will also be three other weeks with no Thursday game, two in early November (these two weeks will tie in with point #5), and the Thursday before Christmas (unless that is Christmas Eve, then it will be the week after).
Benefit to Fans: No more crap fest Thursday Night Football games.
Benefit to Players: This will get rid of one of the biggest complaints from players: increased chance of injury from not having proper time to heal after a game, when having to play 4 days later or travel halfway across the world.
Benefit to NFL: No more crap fest Thursday Night Football games. Also, less complaints from the NFLPA.
Playoff games will be on Saturday’s and Sunday’s at 3:00 pm EST and 7:30 pm EST.
Benefit to Fans: West Coast fans do not have to wake up early to watch a 9:00 am playoff game. Fans that go to church on Sundays do not have to decide between skipping church and missing the first half of the early game.
Benefit to Players: Players traveling on West Coast do not have to play a NFL playoff game when their body clock is at 9:00 am. Also, a benefit to the traveling team not having to get up early in the morning.
Benefit to NFL: Ratings boost. The Sunday night game is almost always the highest rated for the week. This gives at least two more games at this time slot.
5. Partnerships with Other Leagues
MLB Partnership: There will be no Thursday night game during the World Series, so long as there is no World Series game on a Sunday (this will take some scheduling help from the MLB).
NBA Partnership: There will be no NFL games on Christmas Day, so long as there is no NBA Game on Christmas Eve, if Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, Monday, Thursday or Saturday. There will be no NFL Pro Bowl or any other event the weekend before the Super Bowl. The NBA can use the weekend before the Super Bowl for NBA All-Star Weekend.
Benefit to Fans: Many NFL fans are also fans of other sports. This allows them not to miss big games that are occurring simultaneously. Also, the Pro Bowl sucks and nobody watches or cares about it.
Benefit to Players: Players will get to spend Christmas Day with their families. Also, the Pro Bowl sucks, and players do not want to participate (37 players declined to participate in the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl). Lastly, many NFL players are fans of other sports, and this will allow them to watch more big games.
Benefit to NFL: Ratings boost. The Sunday Night game between the Cowboys (5-1) and Eagles (4-2) in 2017 had lower ratings that World Series Game 5. The NFL’s premier team playing against a division rival in prime-time should NEVER have lower ratings than anything else on TV. Also, no need to compete with the NBA on Christmas Day, if it happens to fall on a Sunday. Just play those games on Saturday for Christmas Eve. Lastly, the Pro Bowl sucks and the NFL is trying to get rid of it anyway. This may create some type of mashup, in which NFL Pro Bowl players can maybe have an event at the NBA All Star Weekend.