18-game regular season gone but not forgotten

The movement for an 18-game regular season has gone away but it’s not dead.

In the timeline for a return to football released by the NFL tonight and in the rough sketch of the agreement owners signed off on but players have yet to approve, the “enhanced season” was included.

“No change to the 16-4 season format until at least 2013; any subsequent increase in the number of regular-season games must be made by agreement with the NFL Players Association,” the document reads.

That means there will be 16 regular season games this season and next, but change could happen in 2013. The key will be television money. If the league can substantially raise the asking price for the television packages, and thus greatly raise the revenue pie, the players could eventually sign off on the deal.

Players have been opposed to an 18-game season, but if the money is there it could very well happen. It’s a discussion for another day. Now, let’s keep our eye on the players and what their next move is.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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