Roger Goodell has been a proponent of moving to an 18 game regular season, and I must agree with him. There are several advantages from an HR perspective of moving to an 18 game regular season schedule. To make it work best, here is what I suggest to Roger and the NFL
1. Move from a 17 week, 16 game schedule to a 20 week, 18 game schedule
2. Have each team play their divisional opponents 4 times, not 2
3. Move the Pro Bowl to the same weekend as the Super Bowl
For suggestion 1, moving the league to an 18 game schedule but spreading it over 20 weeks gives players more rest during the season. Beginning with week 3, each team would have a bye week in either week 3, 4, 5, or 6, and then again in week 11, 12, 13 or 14. This would give players additional rest during the season, especially after long travel days. As well, with the move to Thursday night games, it will give teams who play on Thursday extra rest with the extra bye weeks if the schedule makers work out the schedule well.
For suggestion 2, allowing teams to play more games against their divisional opponents, there will be less cross-country travel and more meaning to the division title. By playing more games closer to home, this will allow more opportunity for players to spend time with their families as well.
For suggestion 3, playing the Pro Bowl the same weekend as the Super Bowl on Saturday will give players who didn’t make the Super Bowl a chance to participate in Super Bowl festivities, and give fans who forked down a boatload of money the chance to see two games on the same weekend.
So ESPN, Roger Goodell, FOX, take my ideas and run with them. Your ratings will increase, the players will be happier, and there will be more intense divisional rivalry. Most importantly, from an HR perspective, their will be more meaningful work, more work schedule flexibility and better travel schedules.