Revisiting longer season debate KO

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
NFC West overlord Mike Sando doesn't think I won this debate back in April over expanding the NFL's regular-season schedule. (I did. It was a resounding early knockout and to emphasize that, I should have just stopped writing mid-sentence to show that he was on the ground being counted out.)

I'm not sure we can believe his stance that I didn't win, since he pounces on this Football Outsiders piece this morning to reopen the issue and offer an additional defense of his position.

Yes, Mike, I understand more quarterbacks will get hurt.

But an expanded schedule deals with the biggest crime in sports: Owners rob their team's fans of their hard-earned money for brutal, meaningless preseason games.

Reducing the preseason schedule alone is enough reason to go from 16 to 18 regular-season games.

As for your other points -- well, this move would incentivize certain important elements of football. If you don't want your quarterback to get hurt, then you'd better build a good line to protect him and give him the weapons he needs to get the ball out of his hands. And how about having a quality No. 2 who can win you a game?

No, I'd rather not see Jim Sorgi in January, but I have a pretty good feeling for Peyton Manning's durability. Quarterback injuries, by the way, created opportunities for Jeff Hostetler and Kurt Warner to win Super Bowls, for Tom Brady to win three and for Matt Cassel to emerge.

They aren't always all bad.

Mike will endure four preseason games to assure himself starting quarterbacks will be playing in December.

I think a 16-game schedule doesn't offer too much more health insurance than an 18-game schedule, and to tamp down the preseason, it's a risk I'm willing to take.