Not you too, Easterbrook

2 Sep

Sorry to keep harping on this, but ESPN’s Gregg Easterbrook chimed in this week with another flawed argument against the NFL’s proposal to add two games to its schedule.

As I argued before,  citing safety concerns as a reason for not wanting the expansion is missing the point that playing fewer games doesn’t make the game any safer. It simply minimizes risks, which is closer to ignoring the problem than solving it. Is that not obvious?

It’s frustrating to hear smart people (smarter than me, at least) take this POV, seeing as how it’s so flawed. Take Easterbrook, for example:

18 regular-season games? No thanks.

Sixteen games is plenty for players’ bodies and for spectator interest. Add more, and each individual game will mean less. That’s diluting the product — like pouring water into a bottle of scotch then claiming the taste, and the price, should still be the same.

The runaway winner for worst analogy of the week. If you want to use scotch as an example, playing 18 games would be like giving you more scotch, which you think is dumb because the amount you have now is “plenty.” Fine by me if you’re so easily satiated, but what if some sponge-tongues really love scotch and want more of it? I suggest you just admit you are against this idea because it signifies change, and as a relatively old man you are bound by law to be terrified of change.

A bit off-topic, but noteworthy:

In the current format, by the time there are six games remaining, it’s hard to care about clubs that are eliminated: In 2009, late-season Rams and Lions games were excruciating. Imagine if this point were reached with eight games remaining! Plus an 18-game season would mean either starting the NFL regular season before Labor Day or holding the Super Bowl after Valentine’s Day.

Yes, Gregg, 6+2=8. Thank you for pointing that out. And playing 18 games will take longer than playing 16. Fine points all around.

In turn, with fewer preseason games, injuries should decline, improving the quality of the product in the meaningful games, the ones that count in the standings. Trying to glut the market with 18 games would, by contrast, decrease the value of the NFL, while increasing injuries because starters will play more. At the end of an 18-game season, more well-known players are likely to be out for the postseason with injuries. That, too, will dilute the product.

Ugh. We had an asbestos problem in our home, but we solved the problem by spending less time indoors.


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