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New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen coach from the sideline against the Cleveland Browns during the second half Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Saints won 21-18.

The idea seems so preposterous that I had to look over it several times to make sure I was actually reading what I thought I was reading.

Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal reported Friday the NFL is considering an 18-game schedule.

OK, so that's nothing new.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been floating that idea round since 2008.

But here's the eyebrow-raising caveat.

According to the report, every player would be limited to playing in just 16 of the 18 games.

So if you're a Saints fan, you'd have two games where you wouldn't see Drew Brees. Alvin Kamara would have to sit out two games too. Michael Thomas. Cam Jordan. Everybody.

Sean Payton would basically be playing fantasy football, trying to pick and choose which games he has a better chance of winning without some of his star players.

And what about the fans spending their hard-earned money to go to a game where one of their favorite players isn't playing?

The league, of course, would be the big winner in this, making all the extra revenue that would come with tacking two more weeks onto the schedule.

The proposed 16-game limit is the league's way of making more money, while at the same time not putting so much wear and tear on the bodies of its players by keeping them playing the same amount of games they currently play.

Chances are, the players will never agree to such a schedule.

What player would want to be forced to sit out two games in a season where every game is important?

Last season, four of the eight division championships were decided by one game or less. Those tight races shouldn't come down to games being played by guys who aren't regular starters.

Several Saints players gave their thoughts on an expanded schedule during mandatory minicamp in June.

"Sixteen games is about all we need," receiver Ted Ginn said. "To add two more and all the banging and different things like that, I really don't see the point to it."

Cornerback P.J. Williams agrees with Ginn.

"I'd rather keep it at 16," Williams said. "It's a long season, especially when you are going to the postseason. And it's a long season, especially coming from college when you aren't used to it."

Players, rightfully so, would want to be compensated more for playing an additional two games.

The NFL Players Association would have to agree to any proposals to add more games to the season. The current collective bargaining agreement doesn't end until after the 2020 season.

According to an ESPN report, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said the players are against expanding.

"Fans and media discuss what would happen to ratings and revenue or whether [18 games] is a good idea or bad idea,” Smith told ESPN. “For us, it comes down to who players are as men and is it good for us. If a coal miner is willing to spend more time in the hole, does it likely result in more money? Yeah. Is that a good thing for him as a person? Probably not. That’s the question nobody confronts. It’s easy to say it’s more money. But is it good for us? The answer is no.”

And in this case, with typical starters sitting out two games, it's not good for the fans either.


Email Rod Walker at rwalker@theadvocate.com.