nfl 18-game regular season
(Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

We saw the NFL regular-season schedule increase by one matchup this offseason. Could it soon increase to 18 games?

This offseason, for the first time since 1978, the NFL increased the duration of the regular-season slate. Teams will now play 17 games each year as opposed to 16 — the previous total for each club.

But a further enlargement of the regular season’s length could be en route, per NBC Sports’ Peter King.

In his Football Morning in America column from this week, King wrote “Whoever succeeds [Commissioner Roger] Goodell is going to have another job to do. The bell will continue to toll on health and safety, and the NFL’s ramrodding of the 17-game schedule this year leads most observers to think 18 games is on the way. How can a league that professes to care about the long-term health of its players subject them to 17 games (in 2021) and maybe 18 (by 2025 or ’26) without imaginatively pursuing ways to assure players they’re not going to be guinea pigs for the NFL’s almighty dollar? The owners have dollar signs dancing in their heads over more inventory; the players should have a roadblock dancing in theirs. That may be the first major issue for the NFL’s fourth commissioner since the Kennedy Administration.”

I’m sorry, but another game added for every team?

The expansion from 16 to 17 games was already ridiculous and dangerous, and the “more football is better football” argument is an incredibly lazy one to make in this situation.

The players put their bodies and overall health on the line each and every week to prepare and subsequently play in a violent game — practices, meetings, workouts, treatment, ice baths (or whatever you call them) every single week plus during the postseason if they’re lucky to make it that far.

The fact the league wants them to do it all a 17th time prior to the playoffs and potentially an 18th time as early as 2025 is unbelievable.

And for what? More money?

The players are what make the league what it is — you must protect the players. Head coaches, general managers, and ownership are wildly important and there’s no going around that, but the fans are spending their hard-earned money to go to games and acquire different television packages and/or streaming services to watch the players. That’s just how it is.

Having those players risk their bodies once and, possibly soon enough, twice more every season isn’t exactly “protection.”

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.