Here’s an interesting bit of football news from north of the border: effective immediately, the Canadian Football League is putting an end to full-contact padded practices during the season.
As reported by TSN’s Dave Naylor, the CFL and CFL Players’ Association will announce the change on Wednesday.
The move is being made with player safety in mind, with the aim of significantly reducing the number of collisions players absorb over the course of a season.
Previously, teams were allowed full-contact practices during training camp, plus 17 more during the regular season. Under the change, contact will still be allowed during camp, but it will end once the season begins.
The league and Players’ Association have also agreed to lengthen the regular season from 20 weeks to 21 weeks, which gives players more time to rest and recover between games.
The natural question is, would the NFL ever make such a move?
The biggest gains the NFL Players’ Association made in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement were in player-safety areas like padded practices; where once teams were allowed two-a-days during training camp, that has been eliminated, and there is also a cap on padded practices in-season (14 total, with 11 allowed in the first 11 weeks of the season).
While it seems an easy thing to convince owners that fewer padded practices are in the best interest of player safety (some coaches might grumble at this thought), you can bet that if the NFLPA broached it, the league would want something (read: more money from players) in return.