The N.F.L. formally agreed so as to add a 17th common season sport on Tuesday, the primary enlargement of the league’s schedule since 1978.
To make room for the additional sport, the league’s homeowners eliminated one preseason sport, leaving three for every staff. The upcoming common season will start on Thursday, Sept. 9 and finish one week later than typical, on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. Tremendous Bowl LVI, which can be performed within the Los Angeles space, may even transfer again one week, to Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022.
Groups will proceed to have just one bye week throughout the season.
Crew homeowners authorised the enlargement at an annual assembly held just about, however the brand new calendar construction had been all however assured to maneuver ahead after the league introduced on March 18 that it had reached a series of long-term distribution deals with CBS, Fox and different media corporations. The current labor agreement, reached in March 2020, gave staff homeowners the choice so as to add an additional common season sport if the league signed at the least one new media deal.
With the addition of a 17th common season sport on high of the 2 further playoff video games the league added final season, the N.F.L. negotiated considerably increased charges for its media rights. The brand new offers, which whole greater than $100 billion, almost double the quantity of the expiring contracts.
“One of many advantages of every staff enjoying 17 regular-season video games is the power for us to proceed to develop our sport all over the world,” N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell mentioned in an announcement.
On Tuesday, the homeowners additionally mentioned 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 staff homeowners didn’t wish to quit the income from a house sport and due to the stress of further journey. The league will now schedule as much as 4 neutral-site video games every year outdoors the USA. Lately, groups have performed video games yearly in London and in Mexico Metropolis. The league mentioned 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 residence sport every season. For simplicity’s sake, the 17th sport can be hosted by all groups from one convention on a rotating foundation. In 2021, each A.F.C. staff 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 residence sport.
As typical, groups will play residence 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 can be decided based mostly on the prior 12 months’s standings.
The newly added 17th sport can be between interconference groups based mostly on the prior 12 months’s standings. A primary-place staff from one division will face a first-place staff from a division within the opposing convention, which it had not been scheduled to play based mostly on the same old scheduling rotations.
That can result in some intriguing interconference video games in 2021. The Inexperienced Bay Packers, as an example, winners of the NF.C. North final season, will journey to Kansas Metropolis to play the Chiefs, who gained 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 occasions of all these video games within the coming weeks.