Last November, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady became the biggest name possible among active players to publicly speak out against the NFL expanding the regular season to 17 games.
“I think it’s pointless,” Brady said at that time during an episode of his “Let’s Go!” SiriusXM show and podcast. “I thought it was a terrible decision. So I don’t like the fact that we’re playing a 17th game at all. I think 16 is plenty. And, again, you’re eight games into the year and you’re not halfway through, so that’s kind of a little frustrating aspect. So whatever, I mean, we’ll play it.
“It’s there, you know, a lot of guys probably miss games over the course of the season anyway, so they probably don’t play all 16, most guys. But, you know, if you’re fortunate to be able to make it through a season and you got to play the 17th game, I think there’s a lot of things that I would adjust to, you know, the offseason, you know, the regular-season schedule.”
Brady’s words will, of course, fall on deaf ears, as it’s widely assumed that it’s only a matter of time before the NFL shifts to a schedule that features two preseason games and 18 regular-season contests for clubs. San Francisco 49ers All-Pro tight end George Kittle produced a different idea while speaking on the “Cold As Balls” show that features comedian and actor Kevin Hart.
“There’s a huge physical toll,” Kittle explained, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “And like, 17 games is a lot. It’s a lot of games, with one bye, whether it’s Week 4 or the bye is Week 11. I’m advocating for two byes.”
As noted by NFL Communications, an increase in regular-season games last season became directly linked with increases in television and digital viewership numbers. Players such as Brady and Kittle may not like it, but fans embracing the extra football games will cause television and advertising partners to do the same moving forward.