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NFL Labor Talks: Why An 18-Game Season?

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NFL Labor Talks: Why An 18-Game Season?

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DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 04: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 4, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Roger Goodell

A record number of fans tuned in to the playoffs, and the Super Bowl was the most watched show in history, but in the back of their minds football fans knew that they had to savor every bit because a lockout looms.

That's right, next year could be a year without football because of a contract dispute between owners and players.

Of the many sticking points, the most ridiculous demand award is that the owners want an 18-game season, plus two pre-season games, replacing the current schedule of 16 regular season games and four pre-season. Considering how the NFL has championed safety this season, levying harsh fines and suspensions on players who hit too hard, the push to add games appears hypocritical.

Adding two meaningful games will give players more of an opportunity to get hurt. The average NFL career is 3.5 seasons, which in the current scenario, means 56 games. In an 18-game season, it extends to 63 games (not including post-season play.) With the extra punishment a player would take in those seven games, how long before the average career drops to three seasons or fewer?

The more prudent solution was suggested by New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees midway through the season, when the owners proposal was first floated, despite the fact that 2010 saw a 34 percent increase in players headed to the injury reserve.

"It's not just as easy as pro-rating two game checks and that is going to be the difference. There haven't been studies to let you know the impact (of more games)...but it's more than just: 'Hey let's just add two more games'."

Wouldn't that be a more fair solution? Instead of rushing into a longer season, the owners, who insist they care about safety, could easily fund a study examining the impact of extra games on a player's health, and table the 18-game extension.

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