An 18-game regular season is going to cost NFL owners some concessions.
The NFL Players Association delivered its response to the owners' 18-game plan on Tuesday and included some bargaining points that could prolong negotiations all the way until March, when the current collective bargaining agreement expires.
Among the players' requests: two bye weeks, increased active rosters, bigger practice squads and a two-thirds reduction in offseason workouts.
The changes undoubtedly would alter the NFL as we know it, but not as significantly as an 18-game regular season. The owners want to shorten the preseason from four games to two and extend the regular season by an additional two contests, leading to more revenue but also a longer season and a mid-February Super Bowl.
With so much at stake, labor negotiations will be heated. But they have yet to really get started despite a potential lockout looming for the 2011 season. Owners will hold their monthly labor meeting in Dallas in December, but no formal negotiations between the players and owners have been scheduled.
With an 18-game season, roster sizes, player health, rookie wages and much more to discuss and deliberate, the two will have plenty to talk about over the holidays.
NFL action resumes Thursday with Bears-Dolphins. Until then, here's the action going on around the sporting world (all times Eastern):
Phoenix Suns at Miami Heat (7 p.m., ESPN)
Looking for a high-scoring game? You found it. The Heat's 'Big Three' host Steve Nash and the Suns, who have won three games in a row.
Chicago Bulls at San Antonio Spurs (9:30 p.m., ESPN)
It's been a tough day for Tony Parker. The Spurs point guard will attempt to regroup and focus on Derrick Rose's Bulls.
BY THE NUMBERS
80 - Straight games the No. 1 UConn women's basketball team has won after Tuesday night's 65-64 victory over No. 2 Baylor. The Huskies are just eight wins short of tying the record streak the UCLA's men's team put together in the 1970s. SI.com's Richard Deitsch chronicles last night's thriller.
5 - Players in history who have won the Cy Young award in both the American and National leagues. Phillies ace Roy Halladay became the fifth after unanimously being voted the NL winner earlier this week.