More talk yesterday that the 18-game schedule will be among the biggest hurdles to labor peace in the NFL.
Dan Snyder is among the owners who want to expand the regular season from its current 16 games. Snyder said last year that adding two games that count would mean more “quality product, quality games.”
For Snyder and the rest of NFL management, the push for a longer season is about bigger TV contracts, not larger ticket revenues, since Snyder currently forces season ticketholders to pay for two preseason games, and charges the same ticket prices for the, um, lower-quality preseason games as he does regular season games.
The players union has said all along it will oppose the added games, unless management throws things like bigger salaries and adequate health coverage for former players on the negotiating table.
Here’s hoping the players stand firm and there is no expansion. Long seasons are only good for towns with winning teams. Lockout or no, the Skins ain’t gonna be winners in time for the next collective bargaining agreement to kick in.
Besides, D.C. has suffered through lousy 18-game pro football seasons with a lousy local team.
The Washington Federals of the USFL played two slates exactly that long at RFK Stadium in the early 1980s. Even a quarter-century later, all the memories are, well, lousy.
The Federals went 4-14 and 3-15 in 1983 and 1984, respectively, and had losing streaks of 10 and 8 games. No-shows outnumbered shows after the midpoint of each season.
The Feds lost the opening game of the 1984 season to the Jacksonville Bulls, 53-14. After the game, owner Berl Bernhard told the press: “A group of untrained gerbils can play as well as our team!”
And the Federals still had 17 more games left to play…