June 26, 2024

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The spread of indie games requires two sponsors for each team

The spread of indie games requires two sponsors for each team

Three weeks ago, when commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged the inevitable push to an 18-game regular season, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow added a caveat: two goodbyes.

Maybe it’s time to say goodbye twice, even without another game.

Before 1987, the NFL had three windows each week. One o’clock in the afternoon on Sunday, four o’clock in the afternoon on Sunday, and nine o’clock in the evening on Monday. The only exceptions were Thanksgiving (two games) and the mid-season shift of a Monday night game to a Thursday night because the NFL did not dare compete with the World Series. Also, the NFL will occasionally play late-season games on Saturdays, after the college football season has concluded.

Now, we have three windows on Sunday, Monday night, Thursday night, several early Sunday mornings in Europe, an early Friday night, three games on Thanksgiving, late-season Saturdays, and Wednesday games on Christmas.

As one coach recently noted, the NFL’s efforts to add more stand-alone games disrupt routines, force players to perform without proper rest, and otherwise create chaos (for some teams).

So why don’t we give everyone a bye?

The NFL tried two byes in 1993. The networks hated it, because it relaxed the weekly schedule at a time when there were only 26 teams. Now, the NFL has 32 franchises and a more balanced talent base among teams, thanks to free agency and the salary cap. It would be easier to appease broadcast partners by adding a second bye – and it would give everyone another weekend of football.

Will there be fewer games some weeks? Yes. Will there still be enough games to fill the different windows? Yes. Are we still watching? Yes.

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But hey, if dilution becomes such a big concern, why not add more teams? This is coming anyway. Why not go ahead and do it now?

More games. More comfort. More jobs. More money.

More of everything.

When it comes to “more,” it can’t just be limited to the league. The sooner the association discovers this, the more likely the pursuit of “more” will be sustainable.