The N.F.L. formally agreed so as to add a 17th common season game on Tuesday, the primary enlargement of the league’s schedule since 1978.
To make room for the additional game, the league’s house owners trimmed one preseason game off the calendar, leaving three for every group. The upcoming common season will start on Thursday, September 9 and finish one week later than ordinary, on Sunday, January 9, 2022.
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Super Bowl LVI, which might be performed in Los Angeles, may also transfer again one week, to Sunday, February 13, 2022.
Teams will proceed to have just one bye week throughout the season.
Team house owners permitted of the enlargement at an annual assembly held nearly, however the brand new calendar construction had been all however assured after the league introduced on March 18 that it had reached a series of long-term distribution deals with CBS, Fox and different media firms. The current labor agreement, reached in March 2020, gave group house owners the choice so as to add an additional common season game if the league signed at the least one new media deal.
With the addition of a 17th common season game on prime of the 2 additional playoff video games the league added final season, the N.F.L. negotiated considerably larger charge for its media rights. The new offers, which complete greater than $100 billion, practically double the quantity of the expiring contracts.
“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,” N.F.L. commissioner Roger Goodell stated in an announcement.
On Tuesday, the house owners additionally stated all 32 groups can be required to play abroad at the least as soon as each eight years. Some groups have been reluctant to play internationally as a result of group house owners didn’t need to surrender the income from a house game and due to the stress of further travel. The league will now schedule as much as 4 neutral-site video games every year outdoors the United States. In latest years, groups have performed video games yearly in London and Mexico City. The league stated it might additionally return to enjoying video games in Canada, in addition to in South America and elsewhere in Europe.
The 17-game common season will give half of the N.F.L.’s groups an additional dwelling game every season. For simplicity’s sake, the 17th game might be hosted by all groups from one convention on a rotating foundation. In 2021, each A.F.C. group will host 9 common season video games, whereas N.F.C. groups will host eight. In 2022, N.F.C. groups will get the ninth dwelling game.
As ordinary, groups will play dwelling and away in opposition to their three divisional rivals for a complete of six video games. Interdivisional video games inside the identical convention will proceed on a rotating, three-year cycle, interconference video games, on a four-year cycle. Remaining video games might be decided based mostly on the prior yr’s standings.
The newly added 17th game might be between interconference groups based mostly on the prior yr’s standings. A primary-place group from one division will face a first-place group from a division within the opposing convention, which it had not been scheduled to play based mostly on the same old scheduling rotations.
That will result in some intriguing interconference video games in 2021. The Green Bay Packers, for example, winners of the NF.C. North final season, will travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs, who received the A.F.C. West. The Seattle Seahawks, winners of the N.F.C. West, will play the Steelers in Pittsburgh, whereas the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the Colts in Indianapolis.
The N.F.L. will announce the dates and instances of all these video games within the coming weeks.