“We do think it is the right thing for the game.”—NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, in 2011, on lengthening the league’s regular season
“I won’t let it happen.”—new NFL Players Association president Eric Winston, in 2014, on the same idea
Winston, as the newly elected leader of the NFL players’ union, selected an important issue to make his first big promise on; he came down on the right side of it. Goodell, who works for the league’s team owners, has long pushed for expanding the regular season from 16 games to 18. The idea behind the 18-game proposal is that, since the NFL is such a popular sport already, two extra games would boost revenues while giving fans more chances to enjoy the sport. But doing so would harm the league the commissioner aims to promote: His owners would field a weaker game-day product as more of the league’s best players—its starters—fall to injury.