NFL owners approve 17-game schedule

Wild Card Round - Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills
Getty Images

There are now 17 games in an NFL regular season.

As expected, NFL owners have approved a proposal to add one game to the regular season at their meeting on Tuesday. The preseason will drop to three games for any team not playing in the Hall of Fame Game.

“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “The CBA with the players and the recently completed media agreements provide the foundation for us to enhance the quality of the NFL experience for our fans. And one of the benefits of each team playing 17 regular-season games is the ability for us to continue to grow our game around the world.”

The added game will be an inter-conference matchup between teams that finished in the same position in their division during the previous season. The host of those games will switch conferences from year to year with the AFC hosting this year’s games.

For this season, the matchups will be AFC East vs. NFC East, AFC North vs. NFC West, AFC South vs. NFC South, and AFC West vs. NFC North.

In addition to those changes, the change in schedule also includes a change to the process of setting international games. Each team will be required to play internationally at least once every eight years.

58 responses to “NFL owners approve 17-game schedule

  1. Who will be the first player to complain that a 17-game season shortens a career by one or two seasons?

  2. And one of the benefits of each team playing 17 regular-season games is the ability for us to continue to grow our game around the world.”
    And there it is! I have been expecting this extra game to be used to allow every team to participate in an international game each year. This is the first official statement that hints that this is where it will eventually lead.

  3. I’m no expert, but I’m starting to think the whole putting “player safety first” stuff isn’t actually a priority and this really is all about money.

  4. Hurray for padded stats and 2nd and 3rd string starting in the playoffs and Super Bowl due to injuries!!

  5. That means the division leaders will meet each other. The last game of the season can mean home field advantage so some teams that have not yet clinched the #1 seed will not be able to rest their starters. OTOH, teams that have no hope of being the #1 seed but who have clinched a playoff berth can rest their starters.

  6. It’s the same number of games… less fake one, one more that actually counts.

  7. Why not just play year round and hold the SB on the 4th of July? Think of the money!

  8. Will Direct TV charge more again? they are get pretty expensive at a time when Americans are struggling to pay bills. I think Direct TV should sell single team games so you don’t have to pay for the games you don’t care to watch. Just my opinion, I hope yall agree.

  9. The Raiders have played so many overseas games they shouldn’t have to play another one for 10 years!

  10. Playoff teams have been playing 17 games a season for over 40 years. Last year when they expanded the playoff pool to 14 teams, the only item of discussion was whether or not the extra playoff teams would water down the quality of play. Nobody was complaining that nearly half the league would be playing 17 games in a season. And yes it is about money. Every business in the world, including the NFL, is in business to make money. Players that feel the added strain of playing 17 games per year is not worth the money they earn are free to pursue their other interests.

  11. If they are gonna do this I don’t understand why they won’t expand the rosters to 60 players.

  12. If there’s going to be even one international game, the NFL needs to pay for stadiums on their own. No reason for taxpayers to shell out money for billionaires if they’re going to send games to London or Mexico.

  13. More intra conference games in the regular season is a positive for me. It gives you a better overall view of the respective strength of the AFC and NFC before the playoff.

  14. This guarantees Cam will hit the 2,000 yard passing make.

    BB playing Jumanji while everyone else plays chess.

  15. Things just got much more difficult for fantasy owners. More injuries to deal with.

  16. The owners won’t address subjective calls because of money. The owners won’t expand rosters because of money. The owners want games under three hours because of money. The owners want tax payers to pay for stadiums because of money. The owners want to charge for PSLs because of money. The owners want more teams in the playoffs because of money. The owners want more regular season games because of money. The owners want to name their stadiums after corporations because of money.

    The owners don’t care about fans unless it effects the bottom line. Despite all the ‘we’d like to thank the fans’ and ‘we couldn’t do it without the fans’ rhetoric, the fans are not in a leveraged position and so they generally lose.

  17. Looks like the .500 season is going the way of tie-game and a playoff system where only truly good teams qualified. The NFL is NOT better off for any of those changes which were only made to boost revenue for greedy owners.

  18. gah05 says:
    March 30, 2021 at 3:20 pm
    Very sad, no more .500 football
    Until they bump the season to 18 games! Curiously, I think that is what I like the least about a 17 game schedule. It just seems weird playing an odd number of games.

  19. It was very easy for owners to approve 17 games. They don’t have to go through the physical grind and the risk of injury. Use the extra money to get the Bills a new stadium. Put a team in San Antonio!!!!!

  20. Now the owners need to make permanent changes to roster size, number of players active for gameday, expanded and more flexible IR designations and larger Practice Squads – which should also include spots protected from poaching.

  21. There’s nothing wrong with a 17-game season that isn’t already wrong with a 16 game season.

    The owners stack the salary cap so that you can’t pay a QB and pay for good protection and talent around him or any depth and they don’t extend rosters in a significant way so that there is a better available roster of of players ON GAME DAY, like in college football.

    They want to squeeze more juice$ out of the same lemon and that’s what’s always been the issue! It will be if there are 16, 17 or 20 games!

  22. The big problem with a 17 game schedule is injury risk.
    The division winner may have suffered an extra injury or two, or conversely not had a couple of players injured.
    The more games played, the more variance due to injury, and this devalues having a good roster as opposed to a deep roster.

    My point is who makes the playoffs, or who advances will be more heavily impacted by luck (injuries) and skill (while obviously very important) is a little less important than it was.

    Take 4 clones of the Chiefs or Buccs. Have them play 17 games. All it takes is an injury to a QB, or Oline (which happened to KC in the playoffs) to have a big impact.

    The 4 pre-season games were meaningless and players got hurt there too, so maybe my concerns are overblown. I hope so.

  23. Good teams already play 17+ games per season. Go Bucs!

  24. Not on the owners side or the players side – just glad to see a preseason game gone, hopefully they get rid of another one and go to an 18 game regular season, 2 game pre season – about injuries those will happen regardless and as soon as someone gets injured this year they will be claiming it’s due to the extra game even though they hadn’t played it yet

  25. MortimerInMiami says:
    March 30, 2021 at 3:47 pm
    Guaranteed 18 game regular season by 2023 or 2024.


    CBA states they can’t go to 18 during the life of that agreement…at least not without tearing that agreement up and renegotiating it. So most likely, it’ll be at least 10 years of 17 games.

  26. mlhigh77 says:
    March 30, 2021 at 3:02 pm
    Why not just play year round and hold the SB on the 4th of July? Think of the money!

    I know this was stated with tongue firmly in cheek. But why not play a 30 game schedule over 35 weeks with each team getting 5 bye weeks (average 1 bye every 6 weeks). Play the Super Bowl on the Sunday before Memorial Day. Then from mid-June to the last weekend in July for the Draft process and Training Camps opening back up the first week of August. This would not have been possible 20 years ago, but the game now is not nearly as physical as it was back then.

  27. I just want a developmental league to occupy March and April so I don’t have to hear about that dreadful college basketball bracket again.

  28. A couple of interesting matchups in week 17 2021, provided both teams have something to gain, weather to make the playoff, or improve their situation as a playoff team:

    Seahawks Steelers
    Rams Ravens
    Saints Titans
    Bucs Colts
    Packers Chiefs

  29. What happens to player compensation with the extra game? They ain’t playing it for free. And how about incentive laden contracts for bonuses. Do they get adjusted?

  30. Everyone talking about player safety…so what you’re saying is you want a shorter season?

  31. It is all about the money these days, everything else is secondary.
    Player safety is not a priority.
    Loyalty to fan bases not a priority.

    Cynical San Diego Charges fan here – I learned the hard way.

  32. So many fans complaining about a 17th game. As a sports bettor, I’m just glad to get an extra week of gambling!

  33. And yet, everyone crying about the 17 game schedule will still watch. No one here is that concerned about player safety will boycott the extra game.

  34. Two preseason games and two bye weeks. Would reduce if not eliminate, short weeks due to Thursday/Monday games and offset injury concerns due to the one additional game. I predict that the owners will use this exact proposal, but only when they want to add an 18th game.

  35. Whoever doesn’t like an extra week of real football isn’t a real fan
    We hardcore ones love it

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.