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Roger Goodell resurfaces potential 18-game season at NFL meetings

Wed May 22 3:49pm ET
Field Level Media

At the NFL annual spring meeting in Nashville, commissioner Roger Goodell resurfaced the idea of playing 18 games.

Goodell closed the three-day rules and planning session Wednesday with another round of discussion about the potential of an 18-game regular season. The NFL season as constituted is 18 weeks with one bye week and 17 games for all 32 teams.

But Goodell shared at the draft last month his thoughts on expanding to 18 regular-season games, trimming the preseason from three games to two and shaping the calendar to play the Super Bowl in February on the Sunday before Presidents Day -- a no-school, no-work Monday holiday for some -- to shift Super Bowl Sunday closer to holiday status.

"Moving to quality and making sure that we're doing everything possible to give the fans what they want," Goodell said in a detailed answer to how the topic came up and its focus.

There is a considerable bridge to cross to make it all happen, Goodell admitted Wednesday.

"The key thing for us is looking at making sure we continue to do the things that make our game safer," Goodell said. "Seventeen games is a long season. ... That's No. 1.

"Working with our players association is No. 2. We would reach an agreement with them if we're going to proceed on that. But also, third, and this is not necessarily in order, is the quality of our game. We would do it in the context of reducing the number of preseason games. We think that's a good trade: less preseason games and more regular-season games. I think most anybody would think that was beneficial. But again those other two factors are important."

No existing committee is pushing the potential plan for 18 games per season forward. Goodell said he first broached the topic as a reaction to playing the Super Bowl on a Saturday night.

"I wasn't floating something we were actively thinking about. It is something that we think about in long-term context," he said.

On another subject, Goodell said he hasn't received an update on internal tampering investigations related to the Eagles signing Saquon Barkley or the Falcons landing Kirk Cousins.

But the NFL is planning to finalize a plan toward establishing rules around private equity of a franchise by the end of 2024.

"I think it's fair to say that they agree with the direction that we're going," he said.

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