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Colts center and NFLPA vice president Ryan Kelly isn’t in favor of an 18-game regular season

Ryan Kelly is not playing along with Roger Goodell’s proposal of an 18-game regular season. Kelly, the Indianapolis Colts center as well as the NFLPA vice president, offered a critical response to the NFL commissioner’s recent promotion of an extended season. 

“I hope not,” Kelly said when asked about the prospect of an 18-game season, via The Athletic. “Yeah, 18 games sounds great when Roger (Goodell) is saying it on Pat McAfee’s podcast. But until you’re the one going out there putting a helmet on 18 of those games, yeah, then come talk to me.”

Kelly was alluding to an interview Goodell did just before the draft, when he lobbied for an 18-game regular season and a two-game preseason. 

“If we got to 18 and 2, that’s not an unreasonable thing,” Goodell said at the time. “The other thing it does, [Super Bowl Sunday] ends on up Presidents’ Day weekend, which is a three-day weekend, which makes it Sunday night and then you have Monday off.”

Goodell somewhat pumped the breaks on an 18-game season late last month. He said certain things would first have to be in place before the season is expanded. 

“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 were going to proceed in that level.

“Third, 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 was beneficial.”

Goodell’s most recent comments were likely a response to some of the pushback regarding an expanded regular season. While the majority of NFL owners are reportedly in favor of extending the regular season, Giants owner John Mara isn’t one of them

“I can’t say I’m necessarily crazy about extending the season,” Mara recently said, via ESPN. “I worry more about player fatigue and wear and tear on the players moving forward. That’s one of the reasons why we have to have the discussion with (the players union).”

An 18-game season coming to fruition is inevitable, if the majority of owners are actually in favor of it. The real question is what will the players get in exchange for a longer season. 

Along with a reduced (or even an eliminated) preseason, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow recently lobbied for an extra bye week if the season is extended. 

“Eighteen games is definitely a big ask,” Burrow last said month. “That’s not easy. Adding that extra game, obviously it’d be great for revenue. But I feel like adding that bye week, if you’re going to have an 18-game schedule, is pretty critical for our bodies. … If you keep that first bye week — some teams have that first bye (in) Week 5, Week 6 — and then you’re going 12, 13 games in a row? That’s not easy. Probably a Thursday night game thrown in there, too. That’s never easy. So, those two byes are pretty critical.”

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Author: Bryan DeArdo
June 5, 2024 | 4:30 pm

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