The NFL season will expand from 16 to 17 games this season, but the league is still focused on an eventual 18-game campaign.
A recent Athletic piece underscored the league's focus on 18 games while recalling the 2011 lockout.
"We were in separate rooms, the players in one, the owners in the other," Giants co-owner John Mara said. "And Jerry Jones said, 'I'm going to go in there and I'm going to sell them on 18 games.' I said to Jerry, 'You have no chance of doing that.' He said, 'You watch me.' I said, 'Jerry, if you go in there and sell them on 18 games I will wear a Cowboys jersey in Times Square every day for the next week.' We all go in there, as soon as he mentioned 18 games, 'No way. Absolutely not. We're not even discussing.'"
Last year, the owners got to 17 games by making it clear from the outset of talks that the next deal would entail 17 games. The union knew that, if the league didn’t get 17 games voluntarily, it would reprise the 2011 lockout and, at some point, get the 17th game.
The current CBA expires in a decade and the league has wanted an 18-game season for at least as long.