Ravens center and player rep Matt Birk is entrenched in the NFL labor brouhaha between the players and the owners, and one of the biggest issues is the owners' desire to expand the regular season to 18 games. Birk has a solution, though, one I think sounds like a pretty reasonable compromise.
“They came at us with an 18-game season and an 18 percent pay cut and that’s really not acceptable in our view. I don’t know if 18 games is for the good of the game," Birk told KFAN in Minneapolis.
"I would say maybe like something like a 16-game season and [eliminate two preseason games] and maybe expand the playoffs by two teams and eliminate the first-round bye for the one and two seeds. That would give you two more playoff games on TV that you could televise.”
This is where I'm supposed to point out that Birk went to Harvard and that he's really smart, so here you go.
Seriously, though, Birk's solution -- and he's not the first to suggest this -- makes a lot of sense if the owners go for it. Expanding to 18 games puts the players at extra risk and lessens the quality of play to some degree. Meanwhile, who wouldn't love more playoff pigskin (with the added perk of a shortened preseason)?
Birk doesn't expect this labor beef to get cleared up anytime soon. (And remember, he went to Harvard!)
"It’s late February and there’s this big March 3 deadline," Birk said, "which is somewhat comical because I checked the schedule and there’s no games scheduled for March or April or May or June.”