Manning: 18-game schedule could alter Colts' roster

August 31, 2010
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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning isn’t convinced expanding the National Football League schedule to 18 regular season games is a good idea. But not for the reason you might think.

Most players are worried about not getting more pay to play two more regular season games, or are concerned about the wear and tear that those games will put on their bodies. And Manning is concerned about those things too. But he’s chiefly concerned with how those two games will affect the productivity of his team and their overall chances to win.

Manning thinks the two additional games could hurt the Colts’ chances of evaluating and signing good undrafted free agents. Colts President Bill Polian has cemented his place in football history with his ability to evaluate talent taken deep in the draft and plucked out of the abyss of players who slipped through the draft’s cracks.

“It sounds like it’s going to happen next year … the biggest challenge is going to be is for a guy, an undrafted free agent … some times a guy like that needs a third and fourth preseason game to show the coaches, hey, I belong here,” Manning said.

Manning realizes that without a steady flow of productive undrafted free agents, his supporting cast in Indianapolis would have looked much different over the course of his career.

“Jeff Saturday said with two preseason games, he probably wouldn’t have made it in the NFL,” Manning said. “There are certain guys who look great in practice on the field, but all of a sudden they get in games and they just don’t look quite as comfortable. The lights come on and something just doesn’t go well.  Vice versa, there are guys who look average in practice and they get on the playing field and all they do is return punts for touchdowns, make one-handed catches, make interceptions. I think you’ll lose that ability for coaches to evaluate those players. That would be a shame because there are so many great stories of undrafted guys like Jeff Saturday on our team and Dominic Rhodes a few years ago and so many throughout the history of the league. I think that’s something the league is going to miss out on.”

  • NFL
    Unfortunately, like nearly all things these days, $$ and/or greed rules. The NFL will find a way to ruin itself. This is the first step in that direction.

  • NFL doesn't get it
    It's my understanding the main push for 18 games is to acknowledge the season-holders' discontent in having to pay full ticet price for 4 preseason games. I wouldn't want to pay full price for 4 games either. The NFL sees the possible outcomes as being:
    A) continue with the current schedule of 4 preseason/16 regular season, or B) 2 preseason/18 regular season. However, they're not considering what would possibly be the best solution - C) slash the ticket prices of preseason games and keep the current schedule. Lower preseason prices would both satisfy the season-holders and allow those who can't afford to pay full price to catch a game.
  • season tix holders
    I don't understand the talk about season tix holders discontent. Season ticket holders only have to buy two pre-season tickets as it is. With an expansion to 18 games, that only eliminates one pre-season game, leaving one to pay for. Is one less pre-season game really that big a deal for someone paying on average $80 per ticket. I think this has more to do with owners wanting to increase the national TV deal. The rest of this is just the owners way of say, "It's about the fans."
  • @Dan
    you actually only pay for 2 preseason games, cus there are 2 away and 2 home for teams. but I still get what you are saying...... just saying.
  • Is Goodell really listening to "the fans"??
    Why is it that Goodell is trying to make this out as a way to satisfy fans. in every interview he states that the fans are overwhelmingly calling for reduced preseason games.

    First, if this was the case, why does this imply that the fans automatically want an extended 18 game season. These two things don't have to go hand in hand.

    Second, i think fans really want a fairer price on these preseason games. They are glorified practice games, so why should full price be paid. I believe that teams need at least 3 preseason games to evaluate talent. Jeff Saturday and Gary Brackett have both admitted that if the preseason had been cut to two games they may have never made it in the NFL.

    Ultimately greed wins out on any decisions that are made, and it doesn't seem like Goodell can see past this either. A 18 game season is going to be a watered down version with more potential injuries to star players and more meaningless games. Someone said it earlier, but the NFL will eventually ruin itself. Just wait until the lockout next year.
  • everybody is a winner, jimmy
    The NFL has the right under the last labor agreement to keep 4 preseason games and increase the length of the season to 18 games (meaning the players union agreed to that) but the contract expires after this season. An 18 game season allows the league/owners to make more income to pay higher contracts to players. As usual, each owner has the right not to pay a player and risk losing him to another team just as each player has a right not to play for any team in the NFL and pursue other interests. Real football fans will love an 18 game season.
  • From the Eastside
    Preseason is a joke for the fans: full priced admission, with sub-par quality product on the field. These games should be half-priced, as well as the concessions ($7.50 beer and $3.75 dogs). Owners want the same or more games for more ticket revenue, but its just putting the same issues as the preseason (few to no starters playing) to the end of the season (remember the Jets and Bills games last year?). Greed will kill the 2010-11 season.
  • Dan doesn't get it
    This is not about season ticket holders. It is about the owners and players fighting over a large but finite pot of money. One of the only ways to bridge the divide between the two is to increase the amount of money in the pot. By going to 18 regular season games, the TV contracts (which is where the NFL gets the bulk of its revenue) will increase. This will bring significantly more revenue into the NFLs coffers which can be divided in some fashion between the owners and players. Both sides will get an increased amount of cash. If more revenue is not brought it, the two sides are left arguing over the same pot in a zero-sum fashion.

    Simply slashing prices for preseason games would bring in no additional revenue and would likely bring in less. There is no way this would help break the stalemate between the two sides.

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