Hank Williams, Jr. might change the lyrics to his famous pregame jingle if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell opts to change football's regular season to 18 games.
Goodell has kicked around the idea of an "enhanced season," and while football fans might love the idea of two more weeks of meaningful pigskin, players and organizations have reason to oppose the idea, unless the plan is padded with extra compensation, of course.
"If you're going to take those two preseason games and make them regular-season games, then the pay has to be different," Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork told WEEI. "That's point blank. Me, personally, as a fan of football, I care less about 18, 20-game seasons as long as the pay is right. Don't pay me as four preseason games when there's only two preseason games and the other two are regular season games. So if you want it like that, you will have to come out of your pockets for it."
Cutting the preseason to two games and tacking on two regular-season games simply doesn't make sense to many players, based on the amount of undrafted rookie free agents who have to prove themselves.
"If you go to two [preseason] games, my guess is that the starters are going to have to play more in each of those games," Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said earlier this preseason. "Does a guy that hasn’t gotten a lot of reps [in practice] get a chance to go out there and return a punt for a touchdown or make a one-handed catch? That’s the one thing that I’m not sure [league officials] have totally looked at. Think of how many great players throughout NFL history, and just on our team alone, have been undrafted free agents. I’m not sure if coaches can find out [about a player] in two [preseason] games. My guess is that you would lose some of that. And that would be a shame."
The NFL is targeting 2012 for an expanded schedule, so expect the debate between the NFL and players' union to heat up.
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