A "story" "broke" last night that is neither a story nor is it a revelation.
Bill Polian said on his radio show that an 18-game season in an inevitability.
For reasons I can't fathom, this became instant news flashing across the internet. Polian's actual words were:
He twice called the decision a "fait accompli" during his weekly radio show Monday night.
"I think that the owners, and principally the commissioner, have decided that it's the way to go, and so the debate, such as it was, is over," Polian said. "I've heard recently, and I'm sorry that this didn't get more coverage earlier, some really, really interesting commentary on it. . . . I wish some of that dialogue had taken place earlier."
Let's be clear: this was not an announcement. He was not declaring that there would be an 18-game season. He was merely offering his commentary about the state of the situation. Two points on that front:
1. It's nothing he hasn't said before. As Peter King put it:
He's said it 100 times
2. Everyone else has been saying the same thing for months.
This isn't news. Every analyst, talking head, and insider has been saying for the better part of a year that the commissioner is hell bent on the 18 game season. The owners see it as the only way to generate new revenue. The Commissioner sees the final two preseason games as an awful product (which they are). The coming labor nightmare can only be solved by bringing in more money. The owners want more. The players won't take less.
The money has to come from somewhere.
18 games is going to happen. It's been an inevitability for months. Polian isn't telling us anything we didn't already know. Players have swarmed the airwaves ripping the idea. Manning made a comment about how important OTAs are just the other day. Don't take any of these comments too seriously. These are all negotiating tactics. The players are trying to pump up what a terrible sacrifice it would be to play two more games because they hope to secure a huge salary bump from it. You won't hear any player say ANYTHING good about the 18 game season until after the deal is done. The owners have the authority to do this without their consent. They are posturing for leverage here. It doesn't mean that they don't have a point. It just means that you can't take anything player says at face value. Don't latch on to a player comment as evidence of the horrors the 18 game season will rage upon football.
No matter how many 'Twitter polls' Peter King has, no matter how many 'email polls' Mike and Mike hold, no matter how many angry tirades the internet produces, 18 games is coming. It's either that or a lockout and the possibility of significantly fewer than 16 games in 2011.
18 games or 10 games?
18 games or no games?
It's not much of a choice.
Polian knows it.