The number 18 is not all it's cracked up to be. Sure- once you turn 18 you can do all kinds of cool stuff. You can get kicked out of your parents house. You can buy cigars and cigarettes (and in my case, not get carded on my 18th birthday.) You can officially kill someone and be solely responsible. What am I saying? 18 just isn't that cool.
You know what is awesome? The number 16. You are still a minor. You get your driver's license. You are still in high school with your entire future ahead of you. You haven't been beat down by adult situations and live a very ignorant lifestyle.
Mathematically, 18 is greater than 16, but in reality- 16 is much better than 18.
So why then does the NFL want to beat us over the head with 18 games? I agree that there is almost nothing I enjoy more than going to a Sports Book and watching the entire slate of NFL games, but do we really need 2 more weeks of regular season action?
First off, this can't be good for the players. If you play any type of fantasy football, you know how often players get hurt and miss weeks at a time. The average career of an NFL player is a little less than 3 years. Add two more games to the schedule and we may see their average career length decrease even further. Running backs are commodities to be used up as quickly as possible- and watching them age is depressing.
Not to mention the state of the retired players of the league. For as great as Ronnie Lott was, it is hard to listen to him on the radio. I know some people enjoy his perspective, but it sounds like he has a hard time quickly thinking about what he wants to say. Rightly so, as he bashed his head into opposing receivers for years and now he gets to pay the price. The NFL game takes its toll on players and adding extra games each year is only going to take more tread off the tires.
But what about the fans? We're the ones playing fantasy football, betting on games, and spending money on ugly official NFL merch- don't we get a say? I think we should, but as much as Joe the Plumber thirsts for more NFL action, I can't imagine that two more games will be beneficial. If feels so right to end the season after 16. Do we really need someone winning the NFC West at 8-10? 7-9 is bad enough, but you run the risk of making it even worse in the future. Seattle's division win was the first time in history that a sub-.500 team won their division. If you expand the schedule, that scenario is far more likely rather than being an outlier.
How about the extra two games- where would they come from? Right now their is a beautiful symmetry of scheduling. A team plays everyone in their division twice, everyone in one NFC division once, everyone in one AFC division once, and the remaining two games come from the two teams that finished in the same place as your team in the divisions of your same conference (I hope that last part made sense.) It's perfect the way it is. Who would the other two games come from?
Would it make divisional games less important? Maybe. The Raiders finished 6-0 this year and missed the playoffs. That's another rare thing that happened this year, but it shows that divisional games can sometimes not weight as much as they should.
So maybe you rearrange the schedule and make each team play each other 3 times? Please don't do this. I love watching the Bears/Packers but I don't need it 3 times in the regular season. It's overkill. The law of diminishing returns comes into play strongly here. Too much of a good thing start to make people get sick of that good thing. Please allow the public to thirst after each NFL week rather than make them get sick of it (ya know, like the baseball season that people lose interest in by July or August if their team is out of it.) Fans that are totally enthusiastic are much better than lukewarm, depressed fans that have more games of their crappy teams.
Turning 18 seems awesome, but it really is just another stage in your life where you gain responsibility with not much reward. The NFL going to 18 games seems like a great idea, but like turning 18, would be highly overrated. Watching two more Bills games would be enough to make more of the fans go nuts- and not in a good way.
Now if they wanted to create a 21 game regular season schedule... that would be a party!