NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has a very interesting idea. How about shortening the pre-season and lengthening the regular season by two games? It will still be the same 20 games overall but 18 (instead of 16) of them would count. For the fans (my inner fan included), it is a great idea but for the players (and the orthopedic surgeon in me who is concerned about player health and safety)...not so much.
The orthopedic surgeon in me fears a longer, injury-plagued regular season for many NFL players, some of whom are my patients. Two additional real games are a big deal. One must remember that veteran players participate very little in the pre-season. Therefore, they have a chance to protect their bodies and rehab any of the lingering effects of past campaigns.
The spring and summer are when professional football players, especially those that went deep into the play-offs, undergo surgical procedures. They commonly get surgery in the spring and rehab before and during training camp, all in hopes of being ready for the regular season. Under an 18-game regular season, the players would lose two weeks of recovery and gain two weeks of physical punishment.
Everyone knows that pre-season games are used for evaluating talent and making roster cuts. The star players that we pay our hard-earned money and tune in to see play very little, if at all. Therefore, the quality of the game suffers and consequently the fans' interest level wanes (not to mention lost advertising revenue in the third and fourth quarters of pre-season games that no one is really watching).
Two additional opportunities to watch my beloved Philadelphia Eagles play games that matter, especially in late summer when the weather is nice, is a blessing. I can see it now. Sitting at the Linc (Eagles' Stadium) on a sunny day in a Randall Cunningham jersey, eating a real cheesesteak is a big deal for a guy that trained in Philly at Temple University Hospital and now lives in Florida.
The idea is definitely a win for the fans and an extra arthroscopy and months of rehab for the players. Longer regular seasons for the fans may mean shorter careers for the players.
As a fan, you have a choice. Do you want to watch players that are unfamiliar to you in the pre-season or in the play-offs? Because many of the stars, whom you truly want to see on the field come December, will be injured and unable to perform due to the physical toll of a super-sized 18-game regular season?