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Non-rant: a 17th regular season game outside the country

Posted by Doug on May 14, 2007

My absence for most of last week was caused by a number of things. Among them is a re-design of pro-football-reference. It's a lot of work, but most of it is behind the curtain, rebuilding the infrastructure to make it easier for me to maintain going forward. But while I was wading around in the code, I decided to take the opportunity to snazz up the pages by perhaps 3--5%. Here are some rough drafts:

Old Cowboys franchise page
New Cowboys franchise page

Old Vinny Testaverde page
New Vinny Testaverde page

Old 1998 Cardinals page
New 1998 Cardinals page

While all was quiet at the blog, my good buddy monkeytime sent me an email containing speculation about what I was up to:

Certainly you are working on a rant regarding this report that the NFL is going to:

1. increase the schedule to 17 games
2. EVERY team plays 1 of 17 games overseas
3. overseas hosting superbowl

Unfortunately, I just can't work up any feeling one way or the other about this proposal, much less a rant. As someone who hasn't attended a live NFL game since 1993 and doesn't have any plans to attend one any time soon, it doesn't much matter to me where the games are played. As long as they appear on my TV and are detailed on the internet, it'll be essentially the same to me. The pre-game show will have unwatchable features about crazy German NFL fans whose deepest lifelong wishes have just been granted instead of unwatchable features about some other topic. My life is unaffected. And that goes for the Super Bowl too.

I have some doubts about whether Europe, Mexico, or Canada care enough about the NFL to make this viable, but that's not my problem.

Now, apart from the international aspect of it, there is the issue of the 17th regular season game itself. Many fans seem to object to this, and I'm not sure I see why. The cost/benefit analysis must start with the observation that regular season NFL football is superior to preseason NFL football. Therefore, replacing one game of the latter with one of the former must be good unless there is some particular reason to think otherwise. What might that reason (or reasons) be?

1. Regular season records will be cheapened? This doesn't bother me. Unlike baseball, the regular season's length has been significantly altered twice already, and the structure of the game has changed so much over the years that records don't have any chance of meaning what we want them to mean anyway. Whether there is a 17th game or not, they are what they are.

2. More regular season games means more injuries? This I can see, I guess, but I'm not sure it's clear that injuries would increase much if at all. And for those who give this as a reason, do you favor going to 15 games? Surely that would decrease injuries, right? Why does 16 games --- not 17 or 15 or 9 --- produce the optimal ratio of football enjoyment to injuries?

3. The logistics of the schedule are aesthetically pleasing under the current system, and I don't know where that 17th game is going to come from? This seems to me like quibbling. I agree that the schedule is pretty nifty as is, but would it really be so crushing to see one more arbitrarily-selected opponent thrown in there? So much so that you'd sacrifice a week of NFL football to avoid it? Really? Really?

4. My database must now have three categories (home/road/neutral) instead of just two, and that's going to cause me to have to do a lot of programming, and put a disclaimer into every single article I write? Now that I can see.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 14th, 2007 at 4:00 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.