There is talk making the rounds in the U.S. of expanding the NFL gridiron season to 17 regular season games.
The extra game would come at the expense of the four-game pre-season.
Season ticket holders for all 32 NFL clubs could expect to see an additional raid on their wallets, additional in the sense of be in addition to the annual price rise inflicted on supporters.
The issue of fairness occurs immediately.
Under the current system, each club plays eight home games and eight road games.
Which clubs get the extra home games and which the extra road game?
Not to worry.
The NFL would like to expand its policy of playing regular season games on neutral grounds, such as London and Mexico City.
Players see the expanded schedule from their own unique perspective. More than a few have sat the sidelines for an entire season as the result of an injury sustained in meaningless pre-season exhibitions.
On the other side of the equation, it is easy to conclude that a season-ending injury in the first game of an expanded fixture equates to the same outcome.
Denver Broncos defensive lineman Derek Wolfe offered this insight, “Are you going to pay me? If you’re going to pay me, I’ll do whatever you want, but you’re going to pay me.”
The mention of financial remuneration three times in the span of two sentences leads us to suspect that Wolfe is not alone in his perspective, nor should he or any of the others be, as the game is a business in the final tally.
If the idea ever moves beyond the speculation phase, the season could be expanded as soon as 2021, with more neutral ground destination games played in such locations as Tokyo.
The idea was a retreat from an earlier suggestion, somewhat ludicrous, that the fixture be expanded to 18 regular season games, with the stipulation that players could participate in only 16 of those games.
That latter suggestion was received with stunned expressions of disbelief, as no player, club or fan would want to see a star ineligible for a critical game with playoff implications.