Jacques Talk: NFL-Say no to 18 game regular season

By Jacques Doucet - bio | email

You know the cliche'. Less is more. And when it comes to the NFL regular season schedule, this is certainly the case. Already four games longer than the college football season, the pro year doesn't need to be any longer. Everybody seems to know this, except for perhaps some of the NFL suits pushing for an 18-game regular season.

They say cut the preseason in half from four to two games. Which, I couldn't agree with more. Preseason games are agony. The first one arrives with excitement and anticipation. After a long summer of waiting, it's great to see the Saints or whoever your favorite team is back on the field competing against someone else. However, by the third quarter of the second exhibition you're over it. Let's move on already. Let's get to the games that count.

But … just because you would cut the preseason in half, doesn't mean we should add those two contests to the regular season. Hardly. As a national sports host said the other day, "Let me get this straight. After 8 games, the NFL season won't even be half done?" Nope, it wouldn't be. And that's just absurd.

The NFL's popularity has never been higher. Super Bowl XLV just established itself as the most watched television event of all-time. But that doesn't mean the sport should water down its product. We don't need extra portions if we're already full. Despite the fact the season is already a bit lengthy, each game has a feeling of true significance. Unlike the NBA and certainly Major League Baseball, it's not OK to lose a game. Each contest is dripping with drama and high stakes. Look at the Saints this year. One loss perhaps prevented them from making a 2,200 mile trip to open the playoffs at a 7-9 Seattle team.

And although the players are well, well compensated, they need to be thought about here also. You can look up former Saints' linebacker Scott Fujita's thoughts on the matter. Fujita is well-versed in these matters and a pretty intelligent guy. He's a great representative of the players and their issues. More and more of these guys are getting injured. And those injuries are keeping guys out for extended periods of time. We're talking blown out knees, broken legs … not a sprained pinky. The violence of the game is astonishing. For those of you who have never stood on an NFL field during a game is being played … it is a blood sport to behold. Those guys don't need another two games on their bodies. It could mean years off their lives … literally. Have you noticed how many former players have died in their 50s and 60s?

We don't need to be talking about .500 teams that finish 9-9. Not to mention the fact NO ONE will ever catch those annoying, unbeaten 1972 Miami Dolphins and their unblemished wire-to-wire march. Not with an 18-game regular season. And by the way … what about all the team and individual statistics? Perhaps that's meaningless to you, but I don't like numbers getting warped and skewed because the season suddenly becomes longer. Yes, I'm aware the NFL regular season was 14 games not that long ago.

Cut the NFL preseason to two games. I can't take another meaningless Saints/Dolphins dress rehearsal in early September, the same time LSU opens for real. And keep the NFL regular season 16 games.

It's the right thing to do and everyone knows it.