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NFL Announces New 82-Game Regular Season
CANTON, Ohio (CAP) - In an announcement that is sending shockwaves throughout the sporting world, NFL Commissioner Roger Gooddell has laid out plans to increase the length of the league's regular season from a 16-game weekly schedule to an 82-game schedule in which teams will be expected to play several games each week.
"There's been talk of adding games to the season for some time," explained Goodell during a press conference to explain the change. "We just added more than most people expected."
The 82-game regular season format, already in place in both the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, will require the 32 teams of the NFL to each play 41 games at home and 41 games away. According to Goodell, the postseason format for the league will also change.
"We're going to the best of seven series structure, including the championship, or Super Bowl, series," he announced. "Meaning that in the playoffs, a team might play up to 21 additional games each year. Whoever wins the Super Bowl Series next year will have to play at least 96 games."
When asked why the League thought these changes were necessary, Goodell was quick to point to the growing ratings competition from other sports.
"Those other leagues have the right idea. They saturate the market with their product to win fans," Goodell said with an almost tangible sense of annoyance. "I mean, would you even know what hockey was if it was only played one day a week?"
With the league's bottom line being to capture the majority of future airtime, Goodell said additional changes were needed as well. A team's roster, which currently allows a maximum of 53 players, with a maximum of 45 dressed to play each week, will be expanded to 388 players, with up to 310 dressed to play each week.
Health issues for players became a hot topic among media personnel present at the news conference, but Goodell was quick to rebutt these concerns.
"Look, those guys in the NHL are hitting each other all the time," defended Goodell. "It's not like they're out there dying on the ice or something. It's sports. It's supposed to be physical. I think we're going to prove that we have the best, toughest guys around."
Despite these assertations, pundits agree that the number of injuries in the league will skyrocket.
"We're looking at seeing traumatic injuries in just about every game," argues Dr. Amit Singh, a respected Los Angeles sports surgeon. "I can't imagine the careers of these athletes lasting more than a few seasons."
For his part, Goodell has dismissed such claims as "absurd" and "alarmist," stating that "these athletes are good to go."
Despite the concerns of the medical community, the extended season will move forward as scheduled, with games nearly everyday from the season opener in September until whatever date a team is able to emerge victorious from the newly expanded playoffs. Meanwhile, major and minor television networks alike are already planning to preempt basketball and hockey games in favor of broadcasts from the gridiron.
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