Colts’ NFLPA Rep Ryan Kelly Opposes 18-Game Schedule

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Indianapolis Colts NFLPA Rep Ryan Kelly Opposes 18-Game Schedule

Indianapolis Colts’ NFL Players Association (NFLPA) representative Ryan Kelly, a vice president on the union’s executive committee, is rejecting commissioner Roger Goodell’s idea of adding an 18th regular-season game to the schedule.

Colts’ NFLPA rep Ryan Kelly addresses commissioner Roger Goodell’s plan for an 18-game regular season

“Eighteen games sounds great when Roger’s saying it on Pat McAfee,” Kelly said in reference to Goodell’s appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” in April. “But until you’re the one that’s going out there and putting the helmet on for 18 of those games, then come talk to me.”

The NFL expanded its regular-season schedule from 16 games to 17 before the 2021 season. Each of the league’s 32 teams plays 17 games, with one bye week for each team. The added game is a fifth interconference matchup between divisions. The preseason was also reduced from four games to three.

The NFLPA will probably echo Kelly’s comments in the future if Goodell decides to get the ball rolling on adding an extra game. It should be noted that the players association agreed to the expansion from 16 to 17 games in 2021.

Although Goodell did not put a timetable on his plan of implementing an 18-game season, the current collective bargaining agreement between players and owners is in place through the 2030 season.

However, it can be amended or renegotiated. For that reason, nothing is set in stone. Any change to the length of the season would need to be collectively bargained.

Kelly was against expanding the regular season to 17 games, eliminating a preseason game

“I [wish] people understood how hard it was to play 16, then they [added] another one?” Ryan Kelly added. “And they get rid of preseason games. OK, who’s that going to hurt? The guys that don’t have a shot. The guys that are the undrafted guys or late-round [picks] that need to go out there and improve themselves.

“I think that the fans see it like they don’t watch the preseason games, but they have no idea what goes on inside the building. … [Fans] shouldn’t know all the injuries that we go through. But they don’t know what it takes to play on Sunday. I just think it’s too many games.”

During the most recent CBA negotiations, the move to 17 games barely passed with just 51.5% of players voting in favor. More players will likely oppose adding another extra game. Injuries are the most important factor to keep in mind.

Injuries would affect all 32 rosters with an 18-game season

In 2023, New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending ACL tear just on his fourth snap of the team’s Monday Night Football season-opener against the Buffalo Bills.

Last October, Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson was also placed on injured reserve due to a season-ending grade 3 AC joint sprain he suffered in Week 5 against the Tennessee Titans.

The Colts went on to finish the season 9-8 and third in the AFC South, missing the playoffs.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is another one. Burrow suffered a torn Scapholunate ligament in his right wrist in the first half of the Bengals’ Week 11 game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Injuries are very common in football, so expanding the season makes little sense.

Goodell says fans want fewer preseason games and more regular-season games

Goodell’s idea is impractical considering the number of NFL stars who get injured each season. It’s just wishful thinking on his part. The NFLPA is expected to take a stand against this plan.

If the league expands to 18 games, what will stop it from moving to 20? It may lead to fans watching a Super Bowl between backup quarterbacks. No one wants to watch a playoff game with third-stringers.

“We think that’s a good trade,” Goodell said in April. “Less preseason games and more regular-season games. [Mostly] everybody would think that’s beneficial.

“Moving to quality and making sure we’re doing everything possible to give the fans what they want. And they want, obviously, more football. I’m not sure they want more preseason football.”

Nevertheless, it seems that Goodell is focused more on quantity, not so much quality.