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Murphy against expanding schedule to 18 games

Posted by Mike Spofford on July 24, 2012 – 12:57 pm

Mark Murphy

In his remarks to the media following Tuesday’s shareholders meeting, Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said he has changed his stance on the possibility of the league expanding the regular-season schedule to 18 games.

Murphy said during negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with the players in 2011, he was in favor of converting two preseason games into regular-season games, making the 20-game season a 2-18 split, rather than the current 4-16. But he’s no longer in favor of such a change.

“I couldn’t support a move to 2-and-18 now,” Murphy said. “With all the focus on player health and safety, it would be really hard to do that.”

Murphy suggested he would support eliminating two preseason games and keeping the regular season at 16, but he acknowledged the challenge there is the lost revenue for the league. He added that it’s debatable whether reducing the preseason by two games would have any impact on player health and safety, because he said a team’s starters might play the same amount of preseason snaps in those two games that they do now in four. Also, that type of reduced preseason might not provide enough time for teams to develop and evaluate their young talent, particularly if starters would then cram their four games of preseason snaps into those two contests.

“But those are the things we have to look at,” Murphy said, “what we can do to make the game as safe as possible for our players.”

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