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Do fans want 18-game regular season?

In his annual "State of the League" address Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell continued to push the owners' top priority in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations -- increasing the regular season to 18 games.

Under the proposed new format, the NFL would add two more regular season games to the current 16-game format and eliminate two preseason games. The regular season is still expected to start at the same time, which means the Super Bowl would likely take place in mid-February.

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Goodell said the change is for the fans.

"The fans have clearly stated that they don't like the preseason," Goodell said. "We have a 20-game format, 16 regular season games and four preseason games, and the fans have repeatedly said the preseason games don't meet NFL standards. And that is the basis on which we started this 18-game concept, taking two low-quality preseason games and turning them into two high-quality regular season games."

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According to an Associated Press poll, 27 percent strongly favor or somewhat favor adding two regular-season games and dropping two preseason games. When the group is narrowed to those identifying themselves as NFL fans, support for the change rises to a total of 45 percent — yet only 18 percent who strongly favor it.

This seems to suggest that fans are more interested in decreasing the price of preseason tickets and not increasing the regular season.

Of course, increasing the regular season would increase revenue for the owners. The players argue that it increases the risk of injuries.

"Any change in a season that increases the risk of injury, increases the risk of concussion, increases the risk of a long-term consequence from playing football, has the potential to shorten careers and jeopardize the 3.4-[year] average players have right now without a guaranteed contract," said DeMaurice Smith, the NFLPA executive director. "Anything that does that is something that's not in the best interest of the players of the National Football League."

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