While the new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association has yet to be ratified by the entire player body, the expectations are that a) such a move might happen in the coming weeks and b) that some major changes to the league format will be on the horizon even if the players vote against the latest proposal at this time. The changes in question, of course, are related to all three parts of the season.
As they have for quite some time now, the league’s owners are pushing for a 17-game regular season. Furthermore, they want to bring the number of preseason games down from four to three while also increasing the playoff field: seven teams from each conference will make the postseason possibly as early as 2020 if new CBA gets ratified — with only the number one seed on each side being allowed a first-round postseason bye.
The changes that might come with a new labor deal will be sweeping, but not necessarily popular. High-profile players such as Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman have already voiced their opposition to the proposed CBA, and it looks like fans are not necessarily on board as well. A look at SB Nation’s latest FanPulse survey illustrates this:
As can be seen, fans are not excited about the changes the proposed collective bargaining agreement might lead to. 55% of those participating in the survey — not just fans of the New England Patriots but all 32 franchises in the league — do not like the idea of adding a 17th game to the regular season. Meanwhile, 57% of those polled think that a 14-team playoff field and all that it entails in terms of the format will make the tournament worse.
Patriots fans, meanwhile, voiced similar opinions when asked whether or not the NFLPA should sign a CBA that includes those changes among others: 70% of the more than 700 participants voted that they would not ratify the deal based on the information currently available, with only 30% saying that they would do just that. Whether the players see it similarly remains to be seen, but the belief at this point in time is that they will not.