The NFL is following the grocery store model: They are open more hours than, say, a century ago because they make more money that way. The NFL has decided that more product creates more profit, so, like the supermarket, it keeps its doors open longer.
This not only means more games each week, but more weeks with games. Yes, the regular season or the postseason will upsize. I'm betting on both - eventually an 18-game regular season (up from 16) and 16-team playoffs (up from 12).
As Deep Throat once told me at a parking meter near the ESPN Zone in downtown Washington, "Follow the money."
From a competitive standpoint, the current 12-team playoff system makes sense - it keeps the postseason fairly exclusionary (as opposed to the NBA and the NHL, where half of the teams qualify), and it grants a first-round bye to the best teams, who have earned it.
But from a marketing and financial standpoint, an expanded postseason makes more sense. First of all, the postseason always produces higher ratings. Second of all, when you give the top teams a bye, you are removing your marquee attractions from view; why would you take your biggest draws away from the biggest stage?
So get used to it, America: Starbucks may be on every corner, but the NFL wants to be in every nook and cranny - and every home - year-round. Heck, if the NFL could, it would add a 13th month to the calendar.
Ask the Slouch
Q. What is your daily training regimen to get ready for your yearly trek to Las Vegas for the Bowling, Blackjack and World Series of Poker Triathlon? (Steve Hintyesz; Spokane, Wash.)
A. I sleep in until 11 or 11:15 a.m., then get into a solid routine of eating badly and not exercising.
Q. Could the Yankees retire Alex Rodriguez's uniform number while he is still wearing it? (Gary Mitrisin; South Euclid, Ohio)
A. There's also talk, as a fan promotion, of running A-Rod up the flagpole at Yankee Stadium.
Q. With Southwest being the official airline of the Orioles, do the players board the plane on A, B and C lines? (Scott Klein; Columbia, Md.)
A. They actually do board in A, B and C groups, then Jim Johnson.
Q. Do NBA executives and the Kardashian family exchange scouting reports before the NBA draft? (J.B. Koch; Waukesha, Wis.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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