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Gene Frenette: Adding NFL playoff games not a healthy idea

Posted: May 22, 2014 - 10:10pm  |  Updated: May 23, 2014 - 10:50am

The NFL once again came to a fork in the road separating common sense and greed, and shockingly, the league chose to put off collecting hundreds of millions in extra television revenue.

Don’t worry, the avaricious owners will return to bottom line form next year, likely voting to expand the NFL playoff format from 12 to 14 teams because their insatiable appetite for money always wins out.

Just don’t put the NFL’s gluttonous desire for wealth all on Commissioner Roger Goodell and 32 owners. Truth be told, most of us — fans, media, advertisers — are football *****s who treat the sport like all-you-can-eat buffet.

Less is never more in today’s football world. Every proposal or campaign is about adding games — expanding NFL playoffs, expanding broadcast days, expanding college football playoffs. It’s a money grab that ignores the physical toll on players, regardless of how often Goodell stresses the importance of player safety.

When owners tabled a proposal this week to add two playoff teams for this season, they were really saying, “We’ll jump on that money train next year. We can’t appear too anxious while all these lawsuits are swirling around.”

This is an awkward time for the NFL. It must address the sins of its past while growing revenue that the league will need to pay the consequences for a $765 million concussion settlement, a number that could grow higher.

Another lawsuit was filed Tuesday by former players, some involved in the concussion case, claiming the league handed out painkillers to keep them on the field without warning them of the long-term risks.

It’s anybody’s guess what the NFL might be on the hook for when the legal dust settles. One thing is certain: Owners want to make sure that television revenue streams more than cover legal damages.

Just once, I’d like to see the NFL put a tourniquet on greed and recognize that adding regular-season or playoff games to a plentiful football menu is self-defeating. Is the bottom line so precious that it’s worth more long-term health risks for players?

Some of you might think it’s no big deal to add two wild-card playoff teams. It’d give struggling franchises like the Jaguars and their fans more hope to know postseason chances remain alive deeper into the season.

Yes, but the downside is that adding high-intensity games magnifies the dangers of players being exposed to collisions that could threaten the NFL’s long-term future.

Next year, the NFL playoff field will be 14 teams, then a Jerry Jones and other owners will soon push for 16. When does it stop? Does the NFL want to reward 8-8 or 7-9 teams who don’t win their division with a playoff berth?

My guess is as long as the television money is too good, that’s all that matters. And the football prostitution will live on.

 

gene.frenette@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4540

Comments (6)

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revivedteal
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revivedteal 05/26/14 - 01:08 pm
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Premium Member

With Luck in the division for

With Luck in the division for the next decade.....I'm all in for an extra spot! How many good del Rio teams got the uphill battle of facing #18 twice a year knowing that they were owning the division.

emma3
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emma3 05/23/14 - 12:30 pm
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@JungleCat- I like those

@JungleCat- I like those ideas! ( Especially getting rid of two preseason games. I favor expanded playoffs..I don't like the possibility of a division leader with an 8-8 record go, when a team with a much better record,in a tougher division is left out. But there could be other ways to add the extra playoff games, and sparing the athletes bodies.One could be eliminating Thursday night games. There is too little time to recover....another is to abandon the overseas games (London)..the travel causes undo stress on the body, and could also be eliminated in favor of extra playoff games..I know the NFL will not make those changes ($$$), but if they are serious about the health of the athletes, those are ways that could allow for extended playoffs.

California Jaguar
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California Jaguar 05/23/14 - 12:14 pm
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Premium Member

@Jungle, I don't know if that

@Jungle, I don't know if that will work but it seems plausible and worth exploration. It was also a well-articulated, rational and lucid post. Moral of the story, you don't need to be a "Negative Nancy" flame spraying A-hole in all of you commentary, you can clearly be a normal human being at times.

Davethecaveman
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Davethecaveman 05/23/14 - 07:14 am
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As long as there breath in a

As long as there breath in a scumbag bottom feeding ambulance chasing lawyer, the "dust" will never settle.
I can see absolutely no problem with two more teams making the playoffs.

Jungle Cat
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Jungle Cat 05/23/14 - 06:06 am
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It's very simple... Expand

It's very simple...

Expand the active roster to 60.

Eliminate two pre-season games, at the end of sixteen games the four teams in each division square off for two weeks to determine the divisional champ, then the divisional champs enter the conference playoffs, and finally the Super Bowl.

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