The NFL preseason is a long, four-week process that often struggles to keep fans entertained.
Starters rarely play — and if they do it’s only for a handful of drives at most. Games can be long and boring. And there are always a handful of major injuries that sideline major players — like Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee — for an entire season over a game that didn’t matter.
Teams struggle to get fans to watch these games on TV, let alone show up for the games in person, too.
So how does the league fix the preseason? Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, naturally, has the solution.
He wants an 18-game regular season and a two-game preseason.
Now, the shortened preseason part of Jones’ wish would likely go over extremely well across the board. And, Jones said, a shorter preseason would cut down on injuries — specifically concussions.
(Original Caption) Dallas: Jerry Jones, millionaire oilman from Arkansas holds a press conference at the Dallas Cowboys headquarters 2/25 evening during which he told those gathered that his former college roommate and teammate at Arkansas Jimmy Johnson, would replace Tom Landry as the Cowboys head coach.
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1990: Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys on the field looks on prior to the start of an NFL football game circa 1990. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1991 - Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones in this portrait on the field circa 1991 before an NFL football game. Jones has owned the Cowboys from 1989-present. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1995: Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys talks with his head coach Barry Switzer (R) while on the field prior to the start of an NFL football game circa 1995. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 19: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks with the media after departing an NFL owners meeting 19 September in Atlanta, Georgia. Jones and the Dallas Cowboy organization is being sued by NFL Properties in excess of 300 million USD for violating league agreements concerning club trademarks and product endorsements. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read DOUG COLLIER/AFP/Getty Images)
TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 28: Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Cowboy defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX on January 28, 1996 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl 27-17. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys Cliff Harris is honored by owner Jerry Jones with being added to the ring during halftime of a 26 to 10 loss to the New York Giants on October 10, 2004 at Texas Stadium in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys team owner and general manager Jerry Jones (left) and head coach Bill Parcells (right) during a press conference in Oxnard, California Friday, July 28, 2006. The Dallas Cowboys start training camp and two-a-days Saturday in Oxnard. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
Terrell Owens, left, looks on as Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones explains his thoughts on the risk of signing Owens at a press conference announcing Owens as a member of the Cowboys at Valley Ranch in Irving, Texas, Saturday, March 18, 2006. (Photo by Stewart F. House/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones poses with Atlanta Owner Arthur Blank before their team play on December 16, 2006 in Atlanta, Georiga. Dallas defeated Atlanta by the score of 38 to 28. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
07 SEP 2008: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during the Cowboys NFL game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland Ohio September 7, 2008. (Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 15: Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, during a visit to Mexico's soccer team training session at Cowboys Stadium on July 15, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mario Castillo/Jam Media/LatinContent/Getty Images)
DALLAS - OCTOBER 30: (L-R) Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, NBA Commissioner David Stern and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sit together on stage as Dallas is announced as the host for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game during a press conference on October 30, 2008 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Kerre Randel/NBAE via Getty Images)
09 January 2010: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones with Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin #19 following the Dallas Cowboys 34-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in a NFC Wild-Card game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Ray Carlin/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, left, and former Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith stand with Smith's bust during the Enshrinement Ceremony for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Saturday, August 7, 2010. (Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones leaves the field following a morning practice during Cowboys training camp, Tuesday, July 31, 2012, in Oxnard, California. (Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 29: (L-R) Texas debutante Jessica Catherine Jones, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Texas debutante Haley Alexis Anderson attend the 58th International Debutante Ball at The Waldorf-Astoriaon December 29, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Owner of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones arrives at the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Sunset Tower on February 24, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark Sullivan/WireImage)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 09: Jerry Jones, Owner, President and GM of the Dallas Cowboys attends the press conference for the 2014 The Cowboy Rides Away tour at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on September 9, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Essential Broadcast Media)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 28: Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys is pictured on the field before the start of the game against the Denver Broncos at AT&T Stadium on August 28, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 19: Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager Jerry Jones (L) and Gene Jones attend the 50th Academy of Country Music Awards at AT&T Stadium on April 19, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 12: Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys signs some autographs for Cowboys fans before the game aagainst the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on October 12, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
19 December 2015: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones signs autographs prior to the NFL regular season game game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. New York won the game 19-16. (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 06: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones looks on before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Dallas defeated Cleveland 35-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, talks with head coach Jason Garrett, left, and Stephen Jones in the Dallas Cowboys' Draft War Room at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, on Thursday, April 27, 2017. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 23: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gets a Arkansas Razorbacks Jersey for the 1961 Arkansas National Championship team during the game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Texas A&M Aggies on September 23, 2017 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stands on the field looking on while his team warms up prior to the start of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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The best part about an 18-game regular season, though, is simple: more money.
“It would provide more than $1 billion to the players,’’ Jones said. “It’s certainly worth considering. It would direct more value for what the players expend to the players.’’
Yes, adding two more games to the schedule would bring in more money. It would provide two more weeks for fans to attend a game, and teams would earn more money from TV networks who broadcast the extra games. It would be extremely lucrative for teams, and very entertaining for fans.
While adding two games to the season may be appealing to fans, it could be a tough sell to the players. Physically having to play an extra two games each season is a lot to ask for.
An 18-game regular season isn’t a new idea, either. Owners pushed for that during negotiations for the current collective bargaining agreement in 2011, but to no avail. One of the biggest hangups for players then, as it likely would be now, was an increased exposure to injuries.
It’s not out of reach, however. The Canadian Football League currently plays an 18-game schedule over 20 weeks, so it can be done.
2018 NFL preseason
2018 NFL preseason
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 30: Mike White #3 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass under pressure by Darius Kilgo #96 of the Houston Texans in the second half of the preseason game at NRG Stadium on August 30, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 30: San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Nick Mullens (4) dives into the end zone for a touch down during the preseason game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers on August 30, 2018, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. (Photo by Stephen Hopson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Aug 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Danny Etling (5) runs for a touchdown during the second half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 16: Wide receiver Trey Quinn #14 of the Washington Redskins is tackled by wide receiver Charone Peake #17 of the New York Jets as he returns a punt in the third quarter of a preseason game at FedExField on August 16, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 16: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass during the first quarter of a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field on August 16, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 16: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) embraces New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan (15) during the second quarter. The New England Patriots host the Philadelphia Eagles in the second pre-season home exhibition game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Aug. 16, 2018. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 16: L.J. Fort #54 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates a sack against the Green Bay Packers during the fourth quarter of a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 16, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 16: Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the Washington Redskins and quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets talk after the Redskins defeated the Jets 15-13 of a preseason game at FedExField on August 16, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Miami Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneel during the national anthem as they prepare to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. The Bucs won, 26-24. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 9 : The New England Patriots and the Washington Redskins face off during their preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 9, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Aug 9, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Members of the Indianapolis Colts stand during the national anthem before a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 09: Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles raises his fist during the national anthem as Chris Long #56 puts his arm around him prior to the preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field on August 9, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Eagles 31-14. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 09: New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) lines up wide during a preseason NFL game between the New England Patriots and the Washington Redskins on August 9, 2018, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Redskins 26-17. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 09: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs throws a pass down field during the first half against the Houston Texans on August 9, 2018 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 09: Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans looks to pass during the first quarter of a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on August 9, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 09: Darius Jennings #15 of the Tennessee Titans catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Blake Martinez #50 of the Green Bay Packers during the first quarter of a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 9, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 9: Washington Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy (12), left, hits running back Byron Marshall (34) for a 1st quarter touchdown pass during a pre-season game between the Washington Redskins and the New England Patriots in at Gillette Stadium Foxborough, MA on August 9, 2018. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 09: Eagles QB Joe Callahan (3) loses the football while being brought down by Steelers LB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi (92) during the NFL Preseason game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 09: Steelers WR Damoun Patterson (83) checks in at the line during the NFL Preseason game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chad Henne throws in the second quarter against the Houston Texans on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)
Aug 9, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back Mike Gillislee (35) rushes against the Washington Redskins during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 9, 2018; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Rod Smith (45) carries the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 9, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Christian Scotland-Williamson (49) is hit by Philadelphia Eagles linebacker LaRoy Reynolds (50) in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 9, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back Ralph Webb (22) dives for the two point conversion against the Washington Redskins during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive back Elijah Campbell (43) watches New York Giants running back Jalen Simmons (34) fly through the air on a tackle by defensive back Montrel Meander (30) (not pictured) during second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 09: Houston Texans huddle during the NFL preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs on August 9, 2018 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 09: Jermaine Carter #56 of the Carolina Panthers sacks Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills during the second half at New Era Field on August 9, 2018 in Orchard Park, New York. Carolina defeats Buffalo in the preseason game 28-23. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
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The current NFL CBA, though, doesn’t expire until 2020, so Jones would have to wait until then to make his case to the rest of the league.
While an 18-game regular season is, at this point, probably a long shot, successfully shortening the preseason is a very real possibility — one that almost needs to be done.
And if Jones can pull it off, he’d likely have the support of fans all across the country.