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How Will The NFL Look In 2020?

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert took a very interesting look at 10 potential changes that could happen to the NFL over the next three years and how they’d impact the game.

Leaders Sport Performance Summit Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

When you think about the NFL, you really begin to realize how much transformation continues to happen behind closed doors. From teams moving cities, to changes in rules, and everything in between, there could be some changes coming for the NFL in the near future.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert has a great article outlining 10 potential changes that could come about, how likely they are to happen, and how they’d affect the NFL (which obviously includes the Los Angeles Rams).

Guaranteed contracts

But establishing a fully guaranteed paradigm is not a matter of changing policy. (It's not mentioned in the CBA.) It would require a fundamental change in the market. Players have long agreed to these terms during individual negotiations. What would incentivize owners to guarantee contracts fully when they don't have to? A high-profile player could hold out and force a one-off concession, but it's tough to imagine all players benefiting in the same way.

Verdict: Won't happen

Interesting to think about. Surely the players would be in favor, and owners not, but it would be hard to see a league-wide strike in unison to allow players to benefit from guaranteed contracts. The last line is very interesting, whereas a superstar player may have plenty of leverage and can afford to fight for it, a unproven UDFA rookie may not. With these terms, it can absolutely be seen why they came to the conclusion for the verdict.

International franchise

The NFL's international emphasis will continue and perhaps intensify as it pursues a goal of matching its domestic fan total internationally. But that is more likely to manifest in an increase of one-off games in Mexico City, London and other cities. Owners aren't interested in expanding beyond 32 teams, and there isn't a franchise with a poor-enough stadium situation to force a relocation crisis in the next three years.

Verdict: Won't happen

Super interesting topic. Personally, I think it would be tough with logistics and everything surrounding, but nothing is impossible. With every team/stadium issue of recent (Rams, Chargers, Raiders) being solved, it’d be hard to see a team desperate enough in favor of a international least in the near future.

Helmet overhaul

The NFL is eager to shift the conversation on concussions. It committed $100 million last fall to research remedies for health issues of all kinds, including a reimagining of helmets. The helmet was originally designed to prevent skull fractures, not concussions. The first potential redesign is the VICIS Zero1, a helmet designed to protect against rotational injury -- the cause of concussions -- rather than just linear contact. Almost three-fourths of NFL teams had at least one player test the helmet this spring.

Verdict: Will happen

I think just about everyone (players, fans, owners) would be in favor of this issue being solved. As the players continue to progressively become more athletic, this issue only becomes worse. With the league investing so much into a new helmet design, its tough to see it not come to fruition. Hopefully a design and resolution can come quick, as this is always a time-sensitive issue.

Sponsorship logos on jerseys

The NFL is not usually first into any arena, revenue or otherwise, but the NBA already has jumped ahead. Its teams will wear corporate logos on game jerseys starting with the 2017-18 regular season. In the end, do you really think NFL owners would turn down the additional revenue to maintain the tradition or sanctity of their game uniforms? Exactly.

Verdict: Will happen

Yuck. These kinds of ideas always cause rifts between the business side of the league (owner) and the people who have no interest in revenue (fans, players). Corporate logos only ruin the look and appeal of a jersey, and hopefully it doesn’t come to this. With the interest of NFL owners it’s tough to see it not happen, specifically because they’ll up-root a team out of a city, surely they could not care less about a jersey.

These are just some of the potential major innovations on the horizon of the NFL, and I highly suggest you click the link at the beginning of the article to read the article in full as I’ve only touched on a few of the ideas.