Pollard: 'It's going to be a war'
Ed Reed apparently isn’t the only safety miffed at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The same day that Reed unloaded on Goodell over what he thought was excessive fines being handed out from the NFL offices in New York, Pollard took aim at the notion of an 18-game regular season.
The 18-game schedule isn’t here yet, and Pollard didn't mention the commissioner by name, but the idea of extending the season by two weeks has long been championed by Goodell. He has argued that fans would rather have a two-game preseason and an 18-game regular season, although that's debatable; what really peeves fans is when they have to pay full price for exhibition games.
Those in favor of the expanded season point out that if the preseason were then reduced by two games, the number of games, preseason plus regular season, would stay the same. But the regulars, such as Pollard, would face a much heavier workload if those extra two games mattered in the standings.
When asked during a Super Bowl media session on Thursday about possibly expanding the season to 18 games, Pollard said, “You’re dealing with some men who have never played football. Of course it’s a money-making business. They’ve never played the game before. So obviously they can do some things and make some things happen if they want to, but it’s not their bodies that are taking a pounding and beating. Sixteen games are enough.”
Goodell and, by extension, his bosses the owners, are in a tough spot if they push for an 18-game season. This would come at precisely the same time they are pushing to try to make the game safer in light of the litany of lawsuits related to concussions and the fallout from debilitating injuries and even deaths related to concussions. It would seem difficult to say the least to marry the concepts of a longer season and a safer sport.
Pollard, for one, agrees.
“You go through things a lot in the 16 games, plus four preseason games, which is 20, and then you’ve got three or four playoff games. So you’re taking a pounding no matter what. Now you want to add onto that pounding—you talk about injuries now, it’s going to get worse.
“We as players know what we signed up for already,” Pollard said, “but at the same time, the whole expanded schedule would be very tough on our bodies. This is a physical game and a violent game already, and to expand it, to me and a lot of other players in this league, it doesn’t make any sense.”