Although no official announcement has been made, preliminary indications lean toward the NFL opting to resume a full sixteen game season, as opposed to a shortened fifteen game schedule, following this weeks cancellation due to the devastating tragedy on Tuesday.
"The players want to play 16 games," said Gene Upshaw, NFL Players Association Executive Director. "It's the least disruptive. If they're asking me what I want, that's what I want. One thing I can say about Paul — he gets all his information before making his decision. We all know it's his decision to make."
The league announced that it would not be able to render a decision until at least Tuesday, after conferring with each team, and with league officials on an individual basis.
If the season is reduced to 15 games, Upshaw confirmed the players would lose one week's check, as well as the NFL losing the gate revenue for each game scheduled; a total of 15 games.
In addition, a shortened season also presents a problem for the Arizona Cardinals, who had a bye last week and the San Diego Chargers, who have their bye week on Sunday. The Cardinals would end up playing only 14 games while the Chargers would be forced to play sixteen.
Impact on other teams would be felt as well, with some teams playing eight home games while others would be limited to only seven. This could have serious consequences on those teams involved in the playoff race.
"The cleanest and easiest thing to do is 16 games," Upshaw told reporters. "It would give every team eight home games, eight road games and everything stays intact."
Games originally scheduled for this weekend would be moved to the first weekend in January, eliminating the wild-card round and reducing the wild-card teams in each conference to one from three. The total number of playoff teams would be reduced to eight from 12, which was the format used for the 1970 –77 seasons.
Should the league decide to shorten the season, it would mark the third time in NFL history that this has occurred. The strike in 1987 reduced the season to 15 games, while the strike in 1982 cut it to nine games.
NFL to decide on 15 or 16 game season
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