The NFL owners claim that that an 18 game season is necessary because the fans have made clear that they do not like preseason games. If they really care what fans of the NFL think, then here is the opinion of a fan: I do NOT want an 18 game season.
Please understand the person that this is coming from. On an average fall weekend, I watch around 5 football games on television (college and pro). I make it a point to watch part of every single bowl game on TV. I play fantasy football, I attempt to predict the winner of every single NFL game every single week. And I still end up going to several local football games live before the season is through.
I have room for more football in my life, I'm in favor of a more expanded college football playoff, and yet I am NOT in favor of an expanded NFL season.
The reasons are quite simple. An 18 game season will absolutely lower the quality of football we fans get to watch week in and week out.
An 18 game season means more injuries, which will lead to more games in which we are watching second tier players. Much has already been said about this so I'll leave it at that.
An 18 game season means LOTS more meaningless games at the tale end of a season. Consider the upcoming slate of games in week 17 of the 2010 season: There is really only one that we can expect both teams to really care about, and that features that mess of a race in the NFC West. I'm sure some other games will turn out to be great, but you never know which ones these will be. We've seen enough December/January games in the past in which one or both teams were playing half-heartedly to expect this. You can slightly mitigate this fact by going back to 2 divisions in each conference, but only slightly. And yes, this is true in other sports, but watching a baseball game between two down and out bottom feeders is much more tolerable than a football game. Football is a tough game to play when you don't care about the outcome, baseball players will always look for a chance to pad their stats.
There are already enough factors that contribute to sloppy play in the NFL. You owners have persisted in shoving this Thursday night NFL network game upon us, which always showcases how desperately these teams need the full week of preparation.
The 2007 Patriots failed run at perfection is already so rare, expanding the season will all but insure that nothing like it will ever happen again. And isn't that why we watch professional sports? To see teams that have a chance at perfecting their play?
The NFL is easily the best American professional sports league, why mess with it anymore than you already have?