The team owners want the extra revenue, but the union fears that adding two more competitive games would harm the players who already stagger to the end of the season with a variety of minor and not-so-minor injuries.

And the risk for the fans is that teams may go into the playoffs with more stars on injured reserve and thus ineligible for the climactic end of the season.

So what to do?

A possible solution would be to play the 18-game regular season but require each player to sit out at least eight quarters, the equivalent of two games.

Not only would this requirement spare starting players the wear-and-tear of those extra 120 minutes of playing time, but it would add another element of strategy to the game. Coaches would have to make decisions about when they should sit a player for those eight quarters.

Some coaches might sit their starting players in fourth quarters when there’s a sizable lead; others might give players two full games off; some might take the entire first string out; others might mix and match starters with backups.

Pulling the starters when there's a big lead going into the fourth quarter might suddenly make those games competitive again, creating some hope for the losing team and its fans.

Plus, New England Patriots fans might finally get to see whether Brian Hoyer can really fill in for Tom Brady.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there.

Or you can order all three books for the discount price of only $29. For details, click here.

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