NFL Gets Ready For An Eight-Game Season
It's reported that the NFL is thinking of cutting the 2011 season down to eight regular-season games because of the nearly three-month-long lockout that shows no sign of ending anytime soon.
Sporting News is reporting that NFL officials are planning for several scenarios, including the worst. It's possible the entire season could be lost if the lockout continues through the summer and into the fall.
However, if the league and players reach a new labor agreement as late as October, there could still be five weeks of training camps, one preseason game and an eight game season starting in late November.
For now though, the league says it's still focusing on playing a full season. Asked at the owners’ spring meeting last month about contingency plans, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “We have contingency planning for our contingency planning.”
The NFL has announced a full, 16-game schedule for all teams, but league officials say flexibility is built into the schedule, which means a few weeks can be lost without losing games.
A statement from the NFL says "If and when it becomes clear that we cannot play the schedule as it was announced, we will make the appropriate adjustments with an eye toward minimizing changes.”
No one will speculate how many fans a truncated season would pull to the stadiums, or how TV ratings would be affected. Some say a Super Bowl after an eight-game season would be a meaningless consolation prize.