Winston offers two alternatives to 18 games

March, 3, 2011
3/03/11
5:02
PM ET
The longer the big issues sit out there, the better chance there are for good alternatives to emerge.

Houston Texans right tackle Eric Winston just did a thoughtful segment on “Rome is Burning” and has good ideas for where the league can find more revenue without bulking the regular season up to 18 games.
“You’re asking every team to play two more games, that’s two more games of risk for an estimated $500 million. In this grand scheme of $9 billion, $500 million doesn’t seem like it’s worth it. I’d rather see the NFL bid out Thursday Night Football on NFL Network. Let’s put that out for bid, let’s see what that’s going to generate on the most watched night of TV. I guarantee you that would bring in over $500 million, way more, probably close to $1 billion if Monday Night Football is worth $1.9 billion.

“I’d also like to see maybe two more teams make the playoffs instead of an 18-game season. So you’d have eight teams and eight teams and no byes. That’s four more playoff games that the NFL can sell to the TVs instead of having each team play two more regular-season games for $500 million. I think those two alternatives are a lot better than asking each team to play two more games.”

I like the Thursday night idea a lot, and believe players have a legitimate question there. If the NFL Network still isn’t available in some big markets on some big cable systems, isn’t a giant contract with a network a more lucrative alternative?

I don’t like the increased playoff field idea. Watered down playoffs are the worst. It’s the worst thing about the NBA and NHL. It’s not been good, in my opinion, for baseball.

Winston also offered the first hint I’ve seen of any movement on the owner’s demand for an additional $1 billion off the top before they begin dividing money with the players.

"I think it's come down a little bit," he said.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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