Tom Brady: 17th game “was a terrible decision”

In the latest episode of his Let’s Go! podcast, Tom Brady had nothing to say about Aaron Rodgers. Brady had plenty to say about the league’s decision to expand to 17 games.

“I think it’s pointless,” Brady said regarding the expanded regular season. “I thought it was a terrible decision. So I don’t like the fact that we’re playing a 17th game at all. I think sixteen is plenty. And, again, you’re eight games into the year and you’re not halfway through, so that’s kind of a little frustrating aspect. So whatever, I mean, we’ll play it. It’s there, you know, a lot of guys probably miss games over the course of the season anyway, so they probably don’t play all sixteen, most guys. But, you know, if you’re fortunate to be able to make it through a season and you got to play the 17th game, I think there’s a lot of things that I would adjust to, you know, the offseason, you know, the regular-season schedule. A lot of people know my feelings on some of these topics. I’ve been pretty vocal about NFL issues over the last couple of years and some of the things that are done that I don’t necessarily think are in the best interests of the game.”

So why do these things happen?

“Because the owners haven’t had to listen to the players,” Brady said. “Because usually what the owners want the owners get. So, you know, that’s just the way the business has gone. And we need strong union leadership from the player standpoint and a unified union in order to have the right amount of leverage to negotiate what we think is appropriate for an NFL player. But right now it’s more like we get told what to do and, yeah, there’s a vote and a CBA, but the choice is: don’t play or play under these circumstances. And we’ve essentially agreed to play under their circumstances.”

Brady is right, and it’s not going to change until players become as willing to flush the commode on a season as the owners are. It was proven in 1987 that the players won’t unite and jointly sacrifice the ability to play football. That strike failed. The 2011 lockout was destined to never last into the regular season, because the players weren’t going to miss games that count.

“We have union leadership which absolutely does the best they can based on the circumstances that they have but it is very challenging to get 1500 players to agree,” Brady said. “And it’s much easier to get 32 owners to agree who have all the information and they do regular quarterly meetings and they meet and they’re all interested in growing the game. Which, look, the players want to grow the game as well but we want to grow it in a way that’s, again, that’s right for the players as well. So there’s not a lot of thought that goes into that and I don’t think the coaches are represented as well, either. I think there can be a much more constructive way of doing the right thing by all parties, if there were the right committees and right amounts of negotiation and, you know, I think it would actually make for a much better game. Which is ultimately, if you really care about football and you really love the game, that’s what you’d care about in the end. Because the product of the football [game] is super important to all of us. Especially if you’re someone who’s been in football for as long as I’ve been in it.

“I love the sport. I love seeing great football. How do you come together to put together the best possible product for all the people who are watching and investing their time? And we’ve been in an incredible economy the last bunch of years, we really have been. The growth of the sport has been great. And I think that the owners and the league have done a great job in growing it to a global audience. The business of football is great. Absolutely.”

He’s right, and he’s right that the owners dominate every relationship that they can. Why? Because they can. They are the custodians of the football product. The games don’t happen without their approval or consent. And they didn’t get or stay rich by doing bad business deals. They use their bargaining power to do great business deals, which give them more power. Which makes it easier to do better deals.

And so on. From seventeen games to, inevitably, eighteen games.