Colts union rep fires back at notion of 18-game NFL season


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The possibility of the NFL adding another game to the season appeared to be on the horizon in the near future after the league went from 16 to 17 games in 2021.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell floated the idea in April of adding the additional game and moving the Super Bowl to Presidents Day weekend. Goodell later clarified that player health and quality of the game wouldn’t be affected.

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Indianapolis Colts center Ryan Kelly prepares to snap the ball against the Falcons on Dec. 24, 2023, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Indianapolis Colts offensive lineman Ryan Kelly was steadfast against the idea of including another game on the calendar. Kelly is the Colts’ rep for the NFL Players Association.

“Eighteen games sounds great when Roger’s saying it on ‘Pat McAfee,’” he told ESPN. “But until you’re the one that’s going out there and putting the helmet on for 18 of those games, then come talk to me.”

The NFL Players Association would have to agree to the increase.

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Indianapolis Colts center Ryan Kelly runs through a drill during training camp on July 26, 2023, at the Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Indiana. (Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“I (wish) people understood how hard it was to play 16, then they (added) another one?” he added. “And they get rid of preseason games, well, OK, who’s that going to hurt? The guys that don’t have a shot, the guys that are the undrafted guys or late-round (picks) that need to go out there and improve themselves. I think that the fans see it like they don’t watch the preseason games, but they have no idea what goes on inside the building.

The Colts player said fans just don’t know what it takes to get ready for Sundays – and sometimes Thursdays and Mondays and maybe Saturdays and the one-off Wednesday.

“I just think it’s too many games.”

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Ryan Kelly of the Colts walks off the field after a win over the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on Oct. 8, 2023, in Indianapolis. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

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About 51.5% of players voted in favor of going from 16 games to 17 games.

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