As preliminary negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement are underway in the NFL, the push for an 18-game schedule has once again entered the conversation.
And once again, it is being met with resistance by the players’ union.
Zak DeOssie, the Giants long snapper and NFLPA vice president, vocalized his opposition to that idea on Thursday at Giants minicamp.
“We don’t need 18 games,” DeOssie told Bob Glauber of Newsday. “It’s just more opportunity to get hurt. The game is physical enough. It’s hard enough.”
Former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, a teammate of DeOssie’s father, Steve, said that the players would ultimately realize that more games equals more money and eventually support the idea.
DeOssie argued that health and safety trumps money.
“The argument is there’s more money to be had collectively to play 18 games, but health and safety is paramount to us. Always has been,” DeOssie said. “And we think the NFL is going pretty well right now, so I don’t see why adding two more games would be necessary.”
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires after the 2020 season and the NFL would like to reach a deal by Sept. 1 to avoid talks of a lockout looming over the season.
The 18-game schedule figures to be a focal point of the negotiations. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently said that he did not think four preseason games were necessary, which would create a path for the league to add two more games into the regular season schedule.
Yet the players do not seem willing to budge and it could create difficulty on reaching a deal. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has already warned players of a potential lockout in 2021.
“It’s all about financial literacy,” DeOssie said. “I think it would do everyone a lot of good if we could prepare guys for the inevitable transition from current player to former player. And if we’re talking about collective bargaining, we’re a lot stronger if everyone is financially more well off.”