Answers to the Wrong Questions Indicate Fan Support for Eighteen Games Weak

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell gave his state of the league address yesterday.  Amongst the things he talked about was the proposed 18 game regular season:

“Repeatedly, the fans have said the quality of the preseason doesn’t meet NFL standards. That is … the basis on which we started to look at the 18-and-two concept, by taking two of those low-quality, non-competitive games and turn those into quality, competitive games that the fans want to see.”

He’s got a point about the preseason.  But I’ll say that he might be surprised (as I was) by the number of fans who would rather just see those two games eliminated.

I, personally, think the more football the better.  But many fans I know disagree with me because they are worried that the quality of the game will be diluted.  That seems to be supported by the results of this poll from the Associated Press:

“Of everyone surveyed, 27 percent strongly favor or somewhat favor adding two regular-season games and dropping two preseason games. When the group is narrowed to those identifying themselves as NFL fans, support for the change rises to a total of 45 percent — yet only 18 percent who strongly favor it.”

There seems to be little doubt that fan support for an extension of the season is weak.  And, of course, anyone who has been paying attention knows that the players as a group hate the idea.  But I think everyone is asking the wrong question.  It seems clear that the owners aren’t going to easily agree to anything that doesn’t include the two extra games.  So let’s try this one:

Which would you rather have?  Eighteen games in 2012 or a lockout where there are less than 16 games 2011?

That one shouldn’t be a tough choice for anyone.

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