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Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady criticizes NFL's 17-game season: 'I think it's pointless'

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Over the past few years, Tom Brady has become more vocal on league issues.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback criticized the rule change for players regarding jersey numbers, and the seven-time Super Bowl champion is no fan of the additional regular-season game added to NFL schedules in 2021.

“I think it’s pointless,” Brady said Monday on his "Let's Go." podcast with Jim Gray. “I thought it was a terrible decision. So I don’t like the fact that we’re playing a 17th game at all. I think 16 is plenty. Again, you’re eight games into the year and you’re not halfway through, so that’s kind of a little frustrating aspect. So, whatever, I mean, we’ll play it. It’s there, you know, a lot of guys probably miss games over the course of the season anyway, so they probably don’t play all 16, most guys.

"I'm not someone who feels it's a good idea. Some guys do. Some guys don't."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was critical of the NFL's 17-game schedule.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was critical of the NFL's 17-game schedule.

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The NFL Players Association approved the 17-game season in its latest collective bargaining agreement, which was ratified near the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brady called going from 16 games to 17 "a significant deal" when adding up extra practices and preparation. He pointed out that team owners see it as a revenue grower, while players would rather grow the game on their own terms. The disconnect between players, coaches and ownership is a reason why the season length became a divisive issue, Brady said.

"It's very forceful negotiation. In the end, someone wins, someone loses," the three-time MVP said. "And if you're truly a partner, you don't want your (other partner) to lose ... certainly my time in the NFL, that's not the way it is. (Players) are certainly a commodity.

"Our union has proven it's not strong enough to withstand the pressure from NFL owners. I would love to see a stronger union so we could negotiate something that's more fair and what's really fair for the players, for the coaches and for the owners."

The power imbalance lies with the owners, Brady said, especially since it's more difficult to convince 1,500 players they want the same thing compared to 32 owners, who conduct quarterly meetings.

"What the owners want," he said, "the owners get.

"The choice is 'don't play,' or 'play under these circumstances.' We've essentially agreed to play under their circumstances."

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tom Brady no fan of NFL's 17-game season, blames owners