The NFL wants a 17 game schedule, not a 17 week schedule that they have already. The problem is that the players don’t want it and there are logistical concerns over where to play unbalanced games. It’s likely the NFL will have teams alternate between eight and nine home game seasons every other year. That is not ideal, but I have a solution. Are you listening NFL? You should be.
The NFL want’s to expand their brand and many believe that we will continue to see games being played in other countries in fact we will likely see an increase in those games. The NFL will likely branch into Germany and Mexico in the coming years. An increase in those games will help the NFL with their home game dilemma in some regards. A team playing nine home games, which would be 1/2 the league or 16 teams, could play one of their games overseas.
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If the NFL plays three games in London, one game in Germany, one game in Mexico, and let’s say one game somewhere else in the world, let’s say Japan, that leaves 10 games that will be unbalanced back in the states. In other words, ten teams will have an extra in U.S. home game. That could potentially created an unfair advantage for those ten teams. Not if they aren’t played, you know, at home.
As the NFL expands it’s brand internationally there is a large contingent of U.S. states that have no NFL franchise to follow. Hawaii, New Mexico, Alabama, South Carolina, and so on. Why not hold 10 NFL games in non-NFL cities? The first step would be to find markets that are large enough to support a single game each season. The game would likely have to be non-conference or at worst non-divisional games allowing for fans of the NFL and not necessarily those teams playing an opportunity to see NFL action.
This idea would also allow fans who follow their team but do not live within reasonable distance of their team’s home city to perhaps see a game live which they may never get an opportunity otherwise. For example, what if the Miami Dolphins played the New York Giants at a neutral site in San Antonio, TX? Perhaps the Patriots play a 9th “home game” in Des Moines, IA or Mobile, Alabama.
The point is that there are very large stadiums around the country that could support an NFL game and more importantly the money that would go into these communities would really help drive their economies. All the while giving NFL fans an opportunity to see their teams play closer to their own homes.
At the very core of this idea is the fact that there are no unfair advantages regarding home crowds when the games are played in neutral venues. To appease the players you add one week to the regular season and drop two pre-season games. If coaches can’t learn a players value through training camp, they are not going to gauge that players value in part-time work during pre-season. Which would mean they really shouldn’t be a coach at all.
The NFL won’t read this but they should. The truth is it not only solves two problems, game locations to balance the schedule and player approval, but at the same time, makes them more money which inevitably is why they are marketing themselves to other countries. They just can’t figure out how to better market themselves here at home.