It goes without saying that two weeks have to be tacked on to either the end or the beginning of the schedule. To sidestep that somewhat trivial aspect, it is easy to split the difference and go one week earlier and one week later. Additionally consider these extra games as a catalyst towards the reduction of preseason games from 4 to 3, which would mean that an extended 18-game season would not affect the start of OTAs, training camps, or the preseason itself. If negotiated in this manner, extending the schedule would only really inconvenience non-playoff teams one additional week in January.
Oct 27, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A Cincinnati Bengals fan during the second half of the game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
From a personal stance, I do not see a reason to change the 16-game schedule, move a team to Europe, or change too much more about football in its current state. I like it the way it is. Nonetheless, I am intrigued by the idea of more players in the League, increases in player safety, and of course more weeks that involve a game on Sunday.
The point which I am trying to make with this article is not that an 18-game schedule should occur but rather that it can occur in a way that meets the established desired aims of both the NFL and NFLPA. It then becomes extremely sporty to think of how far changes to the structure of the NFL would have to go in order to preserve the balance and fairness inherent in the current system.