Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A 17th regular season game? "Yes we can!"

"I'm Mr. Held Over, and I approve this message..."

My fellow NFL fans, we have longed for more regular season games ever since the league adopted its current schedule. The thought being that we should have an extra weekend of the year to devote our time and energy to something other than our families or actual responsibilities. We have craved and opined for more than a decade for the league to grant our wishes.

There have been many nay-sayers over the years: the Commissioner, the NFL Players' Union, head coaches, owners, you name it. But opportunities have come about that may now send our wild aspirations to fruition: overseas games.

This has started off as a small experiment: two teams traveling abroad to play in either Mexico City or London, with a bye week to follow. The results, both financially and attention wise, have been successful as far as the Commissioner admits. Now is the time to expand the season to 17 games and give fans what they want.

This is a win-win situation for all those involved.

The fans get to have another game to follow and have a rooting interest in without worry of sacrificing a real home game;

The league gets to expand its brand overseas and across boarders with 16 total games in distant lands;

Owners can get in on the action of making additional money at these venues;

Players get an additional paycheck out the deal and adjusted contracts going forward;

and Head Coaches will be compensated by having more players on their rosters to adjust for injuries and added depth.

Now, I am not someone who would come before you and speak through platitudes and empty promises, my fellow fans. I have a plan.

First, we select eight cities around the world that are capable of hosting NFL games. As of today, my suggestion would be as follows: 1. London, England; 2. Mexico City, Mexico; 3. Toronto, Canada; 4. Madrid, Spain; 5. Berlin, Germany; 6. Tokyo, Japan;
7. Sydney, Australia; and 8. Rome, Italy. These cities are only suggestions and others can be substituted in depending upon scheduling availability and facility accommodation. The important thing to note is that we have foreign cities that are invested in hosting two games per season. There are 32 teams in the league, meaning 16 games must be played, with each team making one appearance abroad.

The games will be stretched out between weeks 5 and 12, an eight week period. Teams will have their respective bye week following their game abroad, four teams each week. Rather than stretch the NFL's resources by having two separate cities host games on a weekend, one city will host two games during the weekend. The times have not been completely hammered out, but I believe that a schedule can be put into place where the NFL schedule does not conflict with commitments from the host cities, and vice versa.

Now, getting back to the coaches and players...the standard 53-man NFL roster will need a boost if coaches are to sign off on the deal. Playing another game period increases the chance of injury, and players are not going to want to throw in added risk without some sort of trade off. So be it. I therefore propose we eliminate one of the preseason games, thereby keeping the total amount of games played the same, and increasing the roster limit to 58 players.

By adding five players, coaches and general managers will have the luxury of adding depth at certain troubled positions. No, simply have more players does not ease the worry of injury to a star player (Tony Romo anyone?), but having more roster spots would allow a franchise to look for a perspective free agent without having to necessarily cut someone else. These measures to increase roster sizes would result in the creation of 160 new, high paying jobs, right here in America!

I can only hope that I have made a convincing enough case for this proposal to warrant serious consideration, discussion and
debate in the upcoming weeks and months ahead.

And for those of you desperate to see the NFL enact 17th game legislation, but hold fears of what the doubters might say, you need only recite that message of hope that has surely sustained fans of the Saints, Browns, Lions, Bills and Cardinals over the years: Yes we can! Thank you and good night! And God Bless America!

"I'm Mr. Held Over, and I approved this message..."

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