As the owners meetings concluded in Boston Tuesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell conducted a press conference with the assembled media. As expected, the lingering question of the 18-game schedule was brought up, and, in light of the recent discussions about changing the league’s calendar, it now makes more sense.
Last month, there was discussion of moving the NFL Scouting Combine from February to March, which seemed a little strange in that it would have NFL decision-makers in Indianapolis during the early days of free agency (at least free agency as it currently stands on the NFL calendar). During the owners meetings, the discussion of bumping the NFL draft from late April to mid-May took place, and giving the excuse of a scheduling conflict with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes spring review didn’t pass the smell test with most football fans.
But as Goodell addressed the media about the potential of reviving the notion of an 18-game regular season, suddenly pushing back the combine and the draft would seem to make more sense. Both may still end up coming at the same time frame from the end of the previous season as they currently do, but could end up being at the end of an 18-game schedule.
In his press conference, Goodell said that while currently on the back burner, the 18-game regular season remains an option.
“As I have said before, I think the structure of the season is something that we consistently reevaluate,” Goodell said. “I have been quite open about (that) we have to address the quality of the preseason. I hear from fans consistently that they want to make every NFL event more valuable. They see the preseason as being less valuable to them because they don’t see the best players and the games do not count. We have to address that, whether we are looking at 18 (regular-season games) and two (preseason games) or 16-and-two and expanded playoffs. They are all on the table and things we are going to evaluate.”
The master plan may well be to have an expanded regular season and playoffs, which would add a lot more revenue to the already expansive NFL coffers. The league would be able to add two more weeks to the end its enormous television contracts, could likely impose a 19-week regular season by reinstating the two bye-week schedule (hopefully done by division so as to eliminate the potential for an unfair competitive advantage to some teams as happens with the current haphazard bye-week system) and add another week of playoff games by expanding the playoff field from 12 to 16.
While players have been almost unanimous in their objection to an 18-week regular season, it appears the next battleground between owners and players could be having the road paved now for a battle in the next year or two.
The NFL Network’s latest installment of the top 100 players of 2013 will include a Vikings player on Thursday’s installment – which will include players Nos. 51-60. While OT Matt Kalil remains a possibility, the more likely candidate is defensive end Jared Allen. If it is Allen, there is all likelihood that it will be the last Viking on the list for the next month. Adrian Peterson remains a lock for the top 10 and, quite possibly, the No. 1 overall selection.
The league announced Tuesday that Super Bowl L and LI were awarded, as expected, to San Francisco and Houston, respectively. The Vikings will likely spearhead a push to get in the mix for the Super Bowls starting in 2018. But the clear message that was sent by the announcement was that the failure of a Miami stadium referendum will place more importance on stadium deals being done if a venue wants to be considered for a Super Bowl. Miami was considered to be a co-frontrunner with Houston for Super Bowl LI before the failed referendum for improvements to Sun Life Stadium, and the message sent was that such decisions come with a price. However, with a year to get legislation passed, Miami and Minnesota may well find themselves in competition for Super Bowl LII and beyond.
The Vikings waived offensive tackle Mark Jackson Tuesday. Jackson, an undrafted rookie free agent from Glenville State, took part in the team’s rookie minicamp.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.