Friday, March 24, 2017

1977: A Madman Turns 40: 2017- Day 83

 Today in Madman history, we go to the grid iron. It was 40 years ago today that the NFL changed the official schedule from 14 games to 16. 

    The move was made for a couple of reasons.

1) The most obvious reason was money. Thanks to the Super Bowl, football was quickly becoming the number one spectator sport in America. Now in '77, baseball was still king. But Football was putting up impressive numbers against the NBA and the NFL. So more games meant more ticket sales, more televised events and of course more money.

Commissioner Pete Rozelle,
the brains behind many NFL innovations including the 16-games schedule.

2) There were more teams. Thus in order to ensure more teams got a chance to go to the play-offs, more games were added. This also added more games to the play-off schedule and thus once again- MORE MONEY!

3) The move helped the Seattle Sea-hawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to have a permanent division. Thus it made it even across the board for all teams to play the same number of opponents every year. Of the 3 moves- this was the least permanent actually, as when more teams in the 90s were added to the league a new schedule system had to be adopted.
16 games in a season now put football starting into early August.

   I think it's interesting that 40 years after this expansion of games to the schedule that the NFL is once again talking about adding more games to the schedule. The league wants to go to 18 games but the player's union, concerned about injury, will only agree to it if the league removes 2 exhibition games. I don't think that the NFL is going to allow for an even swap of games but eventually, I think the season is going to expand to 18 games with the loss of only 1 exhibition game. 

    Honestly, I don't think 4 exhibition games are needed. None of the really good players play in the fourth game and the exhibition season has become a bit of a joke with it becoming a sort of phantom zone where players facing a suspension still get to play. I'm sorry but if you are banned from the first 4 games of the regular season, that punishment should also include pre-season as well. Injury and conditioning aside, a punishment is supposed to hurt not reward and allowing someone to play prior to getting sent to the bench really doesn't reinforce a need to correct a bad behavior.
I had to add this- it's the Steelers!!!

    Okay- maybe it's the teaching part of me that's taken over but I feel that this is a change to needs to happen if you don't want anymore Ray Allen/ Le'Veon Bell/ Tom Brady situations anymore.
     Well, that's my look at good ole 1977. Come back tomorrow. Who knows where I'll turn up next!

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