It was in college where I first understood the expanding universe theory. Someone in high school probably tried to teach it to me, but I could only focus on cheerleaders and such. Might have missed that unit. It is a concept that developed into the Big Bang Theory. A whole lot of theories combined to explain why Albert Einstein, Edwin Hubble, Alexander Friedmann and friends had work.
In 1961 the NFL expanded. They added teams as well as an increase in the scheduled games. Before that it is mostly loose theory. Some years in the 1920s and 1930 saw an uneven schedule, teams found their own games, or teams disbanded in the middle of the season. League size varied throughout the first years of the NFL.
In 1947 the NFL seemed to find uniformity in a twelve game schedule. It stayed that way until 1961. Bert Bell (1946-1959) was the commissioner who set the wheels in motion. But Pete Rozelle (1960-1989) is credited with most of the expansion of today. In 1961, Rozelle and owners increased the league's schedule to fourteen games. Seventeen years later he again increased the schedule to sixteen games.
Football statistic purists were up in arms. The expanding schedule trivialized feats of early football. 1,000 yard rushers, once a comet-like appearance, were now as frequent as stars. The 2,000 yard mark was passed. 3,000 yard passers became every day. Then 4,000. But most did not complain. The expanding season combined with television meant more to enjoy. Who would not want that?
The NFL owners and Roger Goodell just announced that the 2011-12 season will be 18 games. This coming on the doorstep of rumors of a potential player hold-out or strike in the upcoming renewing of the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement).
The right time to expand the schedule? Maybe.
There are two theories regarding the future of the expanding universe. One, it cannot continue and eventually collapses on itself. Two, it never ends, but at least slows down.
Households and their inhabitants across America are either rejoicing (me) or cursing (my wife) at this news of expansion. I try and explain to her that it is not a longer season (really), just a shorter pre-season. She just sees more wasted time staring at a television. I am sure season ticket holders see another regular season game, but also a likely increase in their expense. Players see potential for injury increased, as well as a general wearing down toward a shorter career. Owners see profits increasing.
I think I see the future of the NFL expansion eventually slowing down but never ending. It will eventually include other countries and then continents. My wife may be hoping for an eventual collapse.