An alternative option for the NFL’s 18-game schedule idea

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images /

The NFL may need an alternative option for the 18-game schedule idea, which doesn’t seem likely to get through the next CBA. Here’s an idea.

With the NFL owners trying and failing to add new revenue with a hypothetical 18 game schedule, a successful initiative involves adding a 3rd place game between both championship game losers.

Viewers would turn out in droves to see the New Orleans Saints play the Kansas City Chiefs last season, during what is now historically low viewership on Pro Bowl weekend between the championship games and the Super Bowl.

I don’t see much downside in adding a 3rd place game, and it’s reasonable enough for players to agree to in the CBA, just for two teams for one game before the offseason. This game would cash for both players and owners, a disproportionate amount of income for one game.

Is this a world where, “If you’re not first, you’re last?,” like Ricky Bobby’s father said and later recanted in Talladega Nights? Am I the only one who’s seen the Olympics? Injury concerns would be valid, but it’s a reasonable request. If you’re really trying to maximize revenue, this is something fans worldwide could tune into. They would be all over it.

There could even be some added incentive for teams in this game, like a third- or fourth-round compensatory draft choice or something like that. Sweeten the pot a little bit for the winner.

This has a good chance of players agreeing to it in the next collective bargaining agreement in 2021. It could even help talks along, in creating a symbiotic win-win-win for players, owners, and fans. Put it in Europe the week after the Super Bowl.

Speaking of the Super Bowl and which teams would ultimately be contending to play in this hypothetical game, let’s take a look at the teams oddsmakers think have the best chance at winning it all this year.


New England Patriots: 7/2
Kansas City Chiefs: 5/1
Cleveland Browns: 7/1
Indianapolis Colts: 7/1
Los Angeles Chargers: 17/2
Pittsburgh Steelers: 12/1
Baltimore Ravens: 15/1

One very intriguing team in the AFC is up-and-coming Cleveland, which on paper most resembles the Chiefs one year ago. They have their own generational talent at the quarterback position, just like Kansas City and Indianapolis, also on this list.


Los Angeles Rams: 5/1
New Orleans Saints: 5/1
Chicago Bears: 15/2
Philadelphia Eagles: 8/1
Minnesota Vikings: 9/1
Dallas Cowboys: 10/1
Green Bay Packers: 10/1

Next. 2019 NFL Draft grades for all 32 teams. dark

Oddsmakers aren’t really going out on a limb here, are they? Other than the pick of Cleveland at 7/1 in the AFC, they think the four teams with the highest odds of winning this year’s Super Bowl are the same four teams who finished in the conference title games last season.