Nick Rapone On 18-Game Schedule

April 30th, 2024

Bucs safeties coach Nick Rapone.

So last week NFL chieftain Roger Goodell hopped on Pat McAfee’s show and explained how he desires an 18-game schedule and wanted to help rid society of at least one worthless preseason game.

Joe applauded the remarks. More football; less nonsense. Who would be against that?

Well, the NFL players might. They get beat on. Weekly. Badly. Fans don’t. So as a carrot to the players, Goodell said one less extra worthless preseason game will make up for an extra regular season game.

Not so fast, said Bucs safeties coach Nick Rapone.

Rapone was asked today during a media availability for Bucs defensive coaches about his thoughts on an 18-game schedule. At first, Rapone seemed reluctant to comment and quipped this issue was above his pay grade. But then he offered something rather smart.

“If you play in the National Football League, it takes its toll on you,” Rapone said. “Now, if they think it is better to go to 18 [regular season games] and 2 [preseason games] — because that’s a whole different world that you are talking about.”

Rapone said “I know” that when the NFL recently added a 17th regular season game, players paid a physical price.

“The 17th game matters,” he said. So Rapone expected the same if an 18-game was added to the regular season.

Swapping a preseason game for a regular season game isn’t an apples-to-apples trade, per Rapone. He noted that in a preseason game, “Kids may play 18, 20, 24 snaps.” Starters log far more snaps in a regular season game.

(Rapone in the past has joked he often calls players “kids” and that he can get away with it since he’s 68 and in his 45th year of coaching.)

Goodell, along with his 18-game balloon float, also said the NFL could add a second bye week for players to recover.

Rapone said of a possible second bye week, “I think that would help the players, yeah.”

There are other ways the NFL could help players and still have an 18-game schedule. Joe is absolutely all for more football. Real football.

72 Responses to “Nick Rapone On 18-Game Schedule”

  1. Tucker Says:

    I personally like the preseason gives players time to ramp up see some of the potential for the rookies and without it seems like more sloppy football to start the season.

  2. JustVisiting Says:

    I’m with Rapone on this one. Football is an incredible sport, but it takes a toll on players’ bodies. I don’t think they need to play an 18th game to fatten the owners’ purses.

  3. Larrd Says:

    Expand the rosters, too.

  4. Hodad Says:

    Maybe instead of the UFL the NFL should do what the NBA has had success with, a G league. Yeah spring football, but teams playing in NFL statiums, wearing NFl teams uni’s. Each team cuts 30 players every summer, mix in the talent from UFL and you could have a fun NFL G league.

  5. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Expand rosters + 2 bye weeks if they are going to do it

  6. Joe Says:

    I don’t think they need to play an 18th game to fatten the owners’ purses.

    It fattens the player’ purses too. They get 49 percent of NFL revenue.

  7. SB~LV Says:

    The longer the season the softer the game is played, natural human instincts for self preservation.
    The post season hitting is dramatically harder.

  8. drdneast Says:

    The NFL would be all about extending their season as long as they can.

  9. Casual Observer Says:

    Why not make it a year-round schedule? Fatten everybody’s purses. Doctors too.

  10. Dave Pear Says:

    Rapone is my favorite coach on the Bucs.

    Not surprising we had Edwards, Whitehead, Toine, and even AAA when he was around, all balling out. Wish Rapone had overall responsibility for the whole defensive backfield. Then maybe he could get a private session with the masturmind and explain why Calculus 7 goes over the heads of most algebra students, just like footballs.

  11. JustVisiting Says:

    Joe says: “It fattens the player’ purses too.”

    True, but the owners don’t take the extra hits. If the players are on board, I’ve got no objection if the players are on board, but if it’s about pressure coming from the league/owners, I’m a hard no.

  12. Cover deuce Says:

    The 17 game schedule sucks and so will the 18. Something about 9-7 just looks better than 9-8. 9-9? Completely ridiculous. Clownish. And that’s not even the worst of it. More games just waters down the product, will result in more injuries. You want more football? There’s already tons of it! It’s everywhere, from Thursday night all the way through to Monday. They’re going to ruin it by trying to wring every penny out of it.

  13. Dave Pear Says:

    I think I read where middle of the week games are now also in consideration. Whatever.

    Go Bucs.

  14. Oneilbuc Says:

    It’s a bad idea to add a extra game because that means they will keep making rules against the defense. Wich means stats won’t mean anything anymore and it will be hard to determine who’s a hall of famer or not. Think about it players like Baker Mayfield, Tua , and Golf and others if they play another 5 years they will have 50 to 60 yards passing easy . Right now Matt Ryan is ranked 7th all time in yards and touchdowns because of the rules that went against the defense. I don’t think Matt Ryan is a hall of famer now he was a good quarterback but he’s not a hall of famer and I don’t care about rings when it comes to picking hall of famers.

  15. J Says:

    Football is being ruined by Goodell.

    The NFL has become a killer of testosterone.

  16. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    We don’t need 18 games. Don’t need 17 either. And we don’t need 3-4 preseason games. Two of those is enough.

  17. Dave Pear Says:

    50 to 60 yards passing, eh?

    Osqueelbuc again showing great comprehension of quarterback prowess and what it takes to be great.

    Hopefully Jason contacts the Squeel soon for advice on how to get Trashk to start over a proven winning playoff quarterback.

  18. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Adding more games just enriches the current NFL organizations and TV networks
    Adding more teams would increase opportunities .
    And to those who say the talent will be watered down… so what and mostly B.S.
    Go live in your Oligarchy world.

  19. SlyPirate Says:

    The NFL is desperately trying to find new revenue opportunities. Unfortunately, it appears they are willing to do so at the player’s expense. This is just greed. It’s a bad idea.

  20. Rod Munch Says:

    18 game schedule, 2 bye weeks.

    Seems simple enough.

    It will screw up all the stats however as every medicore WR and RB will easily be over 1000 yards, and 5000 yards passing will become common. That part I dislike.

    But, with NFL Redzone, I have no issues with an extra bye week, it’s pretty fun to just be able to sit there all Sunday and watch everything else – it’s not like 1993 when they had two bye weeks and you got the Cardinals-Lions and Jets-Browns as your only two viewing options for the entire day.

  21. Fred McNeil Says:

    They should have two bye weeks as it is.
    Even if they stick to seventeen games.

  22. Saskbucs Says:

    If the players make more money from it, they add another bye week, and they use that extra bye to ensure that teams won’t have short weeks (2 bye teams play the Thursday nighter, I realize that doesn’t work all season) I don’t see why they shouldn’t go to 18 games.

    Is 18 games harder on guys in 2024 than 16 games was harder on guys in the 90s? With the advancement of training and recovery? With an extra week off for recovery… it has to be doable without too much player risk. League has to be smart with scheduling and knock of Wednesday and Friday games, which they won’t but, if they want it there is a path that keeps everyone relatively happy I’m sure.

  23. Rod Munch Says:

    SlyPirate Says:
    April 30th, 2024 at 1:53 pm
    The NFL is desperately trying to find new revenue opportunities. Unfortunately, it appears they are willing to do so at the player’s expense.


    Who gives a crap, go out and put on a show, that’s what they’re paid to do. If they don’t like, then they should use their college degree to get a real job.

  24. Fred McNeil Says:

    One thing from last season I didn’t like was how they had a subscription only playoff game and it wasn’t on Amazon either. It’s bad enough I have to subscribe to Amazon for Thursday Nights. An additional subscription to get a single game was pure baloney.

  25. Rod Munch Says:

    Saskbucs Says:
    Is 18 games harder on guys in 2024 than 16 games was harder on guys in the 90s?


    A 32 game schedule would be easier than the 3-a-days that Perkins had the Bucs running in the late 80s.

  26. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Expand the roster……raise the minimum pay, increase the salary cap proportionately……
    And……..have Joe chip in some cash!!!

  27. Letsbucinggo Says:

    Rather see two more wild cards in each conference extent postseason.

  28. Rod Munch Says:

    Tampabaybucfan Says:
    April 30th, 2024 at 2:05 pm
    Expand the roster……


    Yeah, they really should expand the rosters by a few players. Also adding an extra week of TV should get the NFL more money, which is more money for the players.

    But raising the minimum wage? Again? Why? They’ve already repeatedly raised it and now they’re making nearly $1m/year. Let the players who actually perform get the extra money.

  29. Rod Munch Says:

    Letsbucinggo Says:
    April 30th, 2024 at 2:08 pm
    Rather see two more wild cards in each conference extent postseason.


    You know what we should do is expand the playoffs so everyone gets a chance to be in the playoffs, that would be the most fair thing and it would reward everyone for playing hard and giving 110%. YAY! Yes, great idea!

  30. Rod Munch Says:

    JUAN Says:
    April 30th, 2024 at 2:08 pm
    Oneilbuc Says: “Which means stats won’t mean anything anymore”

    Stats already mean little to nothing. Compare the average interception rates of quarterbacks from the 60s to 70s to 80s to 90s to today. They dropped steadily over the decades due to rule changes designed to protect the quarterback and free up his receivers.


    This is very true, which makes the fact the Bears QB with the most passing yards in a season is still Erik Kramer in 1995 with 3800-yards – that is just remarkable.

    People are so spoiled by offense since the Winston years they forget how bad the Bucs offenses had always been before that – the fact the Bucs only ever had before that one season with a top 10 offense.

    But even with the Bucs terrible history on offense, they were still far superior to the dumb Bears and their messely one SB win. Sad.

  31. Buc4evr Says:

    Yeah add a 18th game so more games can be shown on Amazon during the week. Seriously, the NFL cares less about putting a decent product on the field. They just want to make a lot of money from maximum exposure and betting. They have already screwed up the rules, Flag football for the masses.

  32. Pickgrin Says:

    An 18 game schedule was inevitable as soon as they went to 17 games….

    Playing an odd # of games – and having less home games than you do away games every other year as a result is stupid.

    Expand the active rosters to 55 or 56 players – add a 2nd bye week – remove 1 of the preseasons games. Its not that hard.

  33. ModHairKen Says:

    Does Goodell plan to pay them for an extra game?

  34. Rod Munch Says:

    ModHairKen Says:
    April 30th, 2024 at 2:25 pm
    Does Goodell plan to pay them for an extra game?


    The entire reason the NFL would go to an 18-game season is to get more money from TV and ticket sales, and that revenue is all shared with players, 48% I believe.

  35. Fred McNeil Says:

    Oneilbuc, the extra games skew the records a little but they don’t really affect who is HOF material nor Pro Bowlers nor All Pros. That’s all relative to the era and times in which they played. When I was still a baby they went to 14 games. I think in ’78 they went to 16. People were aware of the past and ranked players accordingly. Same for the rules changes. People realize that the passing game was a whole lot tougher back in the earlier days. People are usually judged by the times they played in. After enough time passes some players are simply forgotten. If you played before 1970 I probably never saw you play at all. I was born in 1960.

  36. Fred McNeil Says:

    Yeah, pickgrin…it probably is inevitable.

  37. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    I suggest raising the minimum because the extra players added to the roster will be the ones affected.

  38. SB~LV Says:

    It’s not a tough man game any longer, it’s a highlight reel, look at me game of look at me show offs, well not entirely but that’s a large part.
    I am down to only watching the Bucs play until postseason games.
    I mean really! How much football can you watch?
    It hasn’t always been that way but the marketing has saturated the market.

  39. Show Me the TDs Says:

    Lots of good, reasoned comments on here. I, for one, enjoy the preseason. Not as much stress. Kind of like a warm up for the main event. I also get to see some players that might not necessarily make a roster right away, struggling to do their best to make their dreams come true. With childish put-downs of lesser players and snide comments about deceased players, I am starting to wonder if this is really a fans site or just a money making venture by someone who doesn’t love the game, but does relish their own warped opinion.

  40. Ha-Ha-Ha Says:

    How about players get 100% of the revenue?

    A team can be two games under .500 and still host a playoff game.
    How much fun, how many tickets sold, how many fans watching a 2-6 team
    play those last ten games.
    I prefer a14 game season. Six in division, then eight against inter conference
    divisions on a rotating schedule.
    If its too much h wear and tear, go to two twenty minute halves.
    That makes an 18 games season into 15 games of hitting.

  41. Ha-Ha-Ha Says:

    I also like the G league.

  42. Jmarkbuc Says:

    I’m old school

    Games once a week on Sunday built suspense and anticipation.

    The Monday night game was a special showcase game.

    I’ve been a die hard football fanatic since childhood and even I am sick of the over saturation.

    Show me the TDs: True dat.

  43. Dave Pear Says:

    It’s time to outlaw the forward pass. Take it back to the 1920s Eliminate the helmet as equipment.

    That’ll fix everything.

  44. David Says:


    They talk about player safety, but keep eliminating practice time and trying to add more games and more travel

    Personally, I thought 16 games was perfect. It’s getting tedious. We’re going to end up with teams playing several games without their starting quarterback unless they just go full bore and put a red jersey on the quarterback and you can’t touch him.

  45. BucsFanSince1996 Says:

    Fred McNeil Says:
    They should have two bye weeks as it is.
    Even if they stick to seventeen games.
    ^^^^^^I agree with you 100% on both counts.

    I love football but know what toll extra games have on the players. We already do very much need two bye weeks with a 17 game schedule.

    If I was a player and had a vote I’d keep it at 17 games. 8 home games, 8 away games, and 1 international game. It’s clear that Goodell is wanting more international games. I’m OK with that but it shouldn’t count as a home game as it does for some teams now.

  46. Netwalker Says:

    Expand rosters and make all players eligible on game day.

  47. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I would love an 18 game season…but I prefer to keep the preseason games. Just have the first stringers only play in 2 of them.

  48. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    And make the games free.

  49. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    If they do make it 18 games…I foresee the divisions each adding a team…which means expansion.

    They have been talking about creating a couple international divisions.

  50. Dave Pear Says:

    Rugby players are actually starting to wear helmet-type equipment. If they have a doctor’s prescription. Stop the madness! The helmet is the evil. Eliminate the helmet and see how many head to head collisions (which are now illegal anyway) actually happen . Form tackling? You would see. It.

    The forward pass sucks. In Todd Bowels fantasy world, we would revert to the days of the Akron Bulldogs.

    Eliminate the forward pass. And the bonus – we wouldn’t have to listen to Trashk ankle biters pining to “see what they have” any more.

    Just get him on Skype and request a private.

  51. Rod Munch Says:

    Tampabaybucfan Says:
    April 30th, 2024 at 2:58 pm

    I suggest raising the minimum because the extra players added to the roster will be the ones affected.


    I’d assume with extra TV money, the cap would go up more than just minimum wage – but even so those extra 2 or 3 slots are all going to be bottom of the roster guys who otherwise would be getting practice squad money. But the base min pay has exploded over the years – and I’d rather reward guys who earned the extra money – and that can certainly include guys who excel in practice, etc. Just something to reward those who separate themselves from others, rather than just blanket rewards for everyone, which devalues people who otherwise would stand out.

    But we’ll see how it goes – the bump in TV money should be notable since they’re not expanding one week, they’re expanding two weeks with the extra bye, so two more weeks of TV money should result in everyone being quite happy, even the players who are currently complaining about ‘safety’, once they know how much extra they’ll making, they’ll shut up.

  52. Mike C Says:

    Been saying this for years!

  53. Bucs Guy Says:

    Only have 8 weeks time for bye weeks. In a 20 week season (18 games + 2 bye weeks),
    8 teams each get off on weeks 7, 8, 9 and 10
    Then they play for the following 4 weeks
    Then they get another week off
    Then they finish out playing the season
    So a team would be off weeks 7 and 12, 8 and 13; 9 and 14 or 10 and 15. Everyone plays weeks 1-6 and 16-20. The teams chosen to get bye weeks are either one per division and become permanent. So they rotate every year to prevent any team from having a scheduling advantage.

  54. Bucs Guy Says:

    By rotating, I mean if a team gets week 7 off this year, next year would be week 8, then 9, then 10 and then back to 7 over a 5-year span.

  55. heyjude Says:

    Will the 18 regular season extra game be on multiple streaming services to make fans pay for them? Goodell seems to like those venues.

  56. Will Says:

    I haven’t read through all of the comments so sorry if this was already discussed BUT how about adding to the roster and expanding the game day roster..

  57. Bucnjim Says:

    Even Minimum-wage NFL players make $800,000 a year. I’m pretty sure they are compensated enough to play an extra game. Also, there is the dreaded 8-month work year.

  58. ChiBuc Says:

    In 10 yrs players will be replaced by needs controlling robot “players” (eg drones replacing soldiers). In 15 yrs, AI will replace the needs. Then what will happen to the 1600+ under educated players. Sorry but playing in the NFL is a choice. Don’t like it…Amazon is always looking for drivers.

  59. ChiBuc Says:

    Re: stats
    How the game is played (rules) does impact stats, but the number of games impacting stats is silly to fret over because you can represent stats in a per capita capacity to accommodate for longer seasons Tha in the past

  60. ChiBuc Says:


  61. Cobraboy Says:

    Expand rosters and increase game pay by one game, add an extra bye week.

    I bet the union will raise holy hell…

  62. Cobraboy Says:

    Now 14 game records are nothing.

  63. BigMacAttack Says:

    I like 18 games with 3 bye weeks. Every team taking byes at the same time. Play 5 games then a bye, play 4 more then a bye, 5 more again then bye, finish the last 4 games then playoffs. It’s fair having every team taking byes at the same time. I can live 3 weeks spaced out with no football because the overall length of the season increases by one month. Less time off between seasons.

  64. DBS Says:

    You want to do away with the preseason games fine. But enough is enough. 16 games was fine. Players can’t stay on the field as it is with this ridiculous union training setup as it is. And like other posters have said. These idiots will come up with more rule changes to turn this in to more of flag football than it has become now. It’s getting to be worse then watching golf with nobody can touch anybody .

  65. Brian in St Pete Says:

    Some of us LOVE watching preseason games. It helps get players up to speed for the season, it helps get play callers up to speed for the season, and most importantly it showcases young talent who may not practice well but show up for games. I know casual fans don’t want to watch the marquise watts of the world show up and compete for a roster spot, but we hardcore fans do. I use to live that 4th game where only the unknown backups play. How can you find a diamond in the rough if they never play?

  66. HC Grover Says:

    It will be like baseball. Some games they will have to play the scrubs.

  67. Defense Rules Says:

    More concerned about short week Thursday night games, largely because the Bucs do the worst in the NFL in those short week games. Study done 5 years ago looked at all the teams’ won/loss records in short week Thursday night games for the 2010-2019 years. Bucs were the worst, winning only 1 while losing 6 games in that period (14.3%). Patriots were undefeated in those years on Thursday nights (6-0), while the next closest to us were the Panthers, Vikings & Redskins (2 wins & 5 losses each).

    Seems like having a 2nd BYE week would give teams a better chance to be more competitive in those Thursday night games by eliminating the short weeks. And especially if Goodell starts pushing for other middle of the week games.

  68. View from 132 Says:

    I’d be in favor of 14 games, zero on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and zero in Europe, Brazil or Saudi Arabia.

    How much is enough? How many more billions can you extract from this sport before you kill the golden goose? Hint: Not much, and the Goose dies soon.

  69. Rod Munch Says:

    ChiBuc Says:
    April 30th, 2024 at 7:00 pm
    In 10 yrs players will be replaced by needs controlling robot “players” (eg drones replacing soldiers). In 15 yrs, AI will replace the needs. Then what will happen to the 1600+ under educated players. Sorry but playing in the NFL is a choice. Don’t like it…Amazon is always looking for drivers.


    The game, Cyberball from 1988, has robots replace human players, was set in the year 2022… So we’re behind on things.

  70. Costa Rica John Says:

    If they go to an 18 week season then allow half the teams to have weeks 5 and 11 off. The other half of the teams to have weeks 6 and 12 off.
    This would allow the players bodies to recover.
    It would even help people out for fantasy football bc those two weeks could be combined for score and counted as one game.
    Also get rid of Thursday night football. There’s not enough time for players to recover from the week before and the games don’t seem as competitive without a week of preparation.

  71. George R Says:

    I don’t know if this was suggested. Go to 18 week schedule, but only let players play 17. Not many player play full slate of games anyway. Maybe when a player is nicked up you sit him that week. Could be a strategy. Maybe the team that you are playing against has a week pass rusher. Sit your left tackle.

  72. Alstott to Canton Says:

    “Takes a toll on players bodies” lmao who cares they know what there getting into when they start football in high school, plus the nfl pays too much as it is so let em play 18