Daily Archives: November 17, 2010

The 18-game season is coming

The NFL Players Association made a counter-offer to the league in its negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement on Tuesday, and the most newsworthy part of this offer was that it accepted the reality of an 18-game season. This is big news, because it basically guarantees more football going forward. If the players are willing to accept two more regular-season games in exchange for other concessions, then there’s no doubt that the two sides can agree on the hows and whys of making that happen.

The NFLPA’s conditions for an 18-game schedule, according to ESPN’s account of the latest proposal, include:

• Voluntary offseason workouts would be reduced from the current 14 weeks to five weeks or 20 days (four days a week, four-hour maximum per day).
• Significantly reduced contact between players during training camp with four practices a week consisting of helmetless and padless periods.
• Two in-season bye weeks.
• Expanded rosters from the current 53 to 56 or 57, in addition to practice squads.
• Increased pro-rated salaries for players under contract.
• Reduction of the amount of games players need to become vested to qualify for post-career health care and pension benefits.
(Note: Italicized language from the article linked above.)

We talked about the overcrowded NFL offseason in May and offered a plan to fix it, and that seems to be one place the NFLPA is focusing in this offer. Less practice time in the offseason and limited practices in pads during training camp will help the physical wear and tear.

But the bigger issues the NFLPA is going for in this issue are the bottom three bullet points – more roster spots (i.e. more jobs); increased pro-rated salaries; and quicker vesting into the retirement program. These are all ideas that will really benefit the rank and file of the league. Right now, players have to be on rosters for four years to be vested, and that’s a tick longer than the average NFL career. Vesting after two or three years will allow many more players retirement benefits. And if roster sizes also increase, these vesting options will be easier to attain.

Who knows if the NFL will go for this offer. The players are certainly asking for a lot. But they aren’t closed to the idea of 18 games, which means you can basically book that possibility becoming a reality. That’s the headline here.

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Filed under Football Relativity, outlandish prediction

Suicide Pool Suggestions Week 11

Don’t tell anyone, but we’re on a roll again. Here are this week’s picks… 


Ray Rice of the Ravens


1. Ravens at Panthers – One of our cardinal rules is not to pick teams on the road, but one of our even more cardinal rules is to pick against the Panthers whenever possible. Not only are the Panthers bad; their top two quarterbacks are out this week, leaving late-round rookie Tony Pike to start. There’s no way Pike exploits the Ravens’ defense, and that means Baltimore is a safe pick even in Charlotte.

2. Saints over Seahawks – The Seahawks have bedeviled us in our picks a bit this year, but in general they have been much better at home than on the road. So a trip to New Orleans seems to set up for a Saints win. Yes, the Browns won in New Orleans recently, but that was a more banged-up version of the Saints, who seem to be coming out of their funk now. This seems like a solid play late in the season.

3. Chargers over Broncos – Few teams are more inconsistent than the Broncos, and that gives us a bit of pause, but they’re not as good as the Chargers are. San Diego has made a living on late-season charges, and the Chargers need such a charge now if they are to make the playoffs. That sense of urgency makes us confident that the Bolts will perform well in this divisional matchup.

Traps to avoid: Bengals over Bills, Cowboys over Lions – Somehow, two games between bad teams ended up on the most picked game. But banking on teams like the Bengals and Cowboys that have been huge disappointments this season, even though they’re playing lesser competition, is silly. Buffalo and Detroit both play hard and are capable of taking advantage of poor or lifeless play from their hosts this weekend. Just stay away.

Week 10 – W Tampa Bay (vs. Carolina)
Week 9 – W Green Bay (vs. Dallas)
Week 8 – W Kansas City (vs. Buffalo)
Week 7 – L New Orleans (vs. Cleveland)
Week 6 – L Chicago (vs. Seattle)
Week 5 – L Houston (vs. N.Y. Giants)
Week 4 – L Tennessee (vs. Denver)
Week 3 – W Baltimore (over Cleveland)
Week 2 – W Oakland (over St. Louis)
Week 1 – W N.Y Giants (over Carolina)

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Filed under Football Relativity, NFL games, Suicide Pool Suggestions