NFL owners approve 17-game regular season, 3-game pre-season
1st time in 43 years regular campaign has been increased
The NFL is increasing the regular season to 17 games and reducing the pre-season to three games.
Team owners on Tuesday approved the 17th game as expected, marking the first time in 43 years the regular season has been increased. It went from 14 to 16 games in 1978.
The Super Bowl now will move back a week to Feb. 13, which places it directly in the middle of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Coincidentally, NBC has the broadcast rights to both.
Each extra NFL game will be an interconference matchup based on where teams finished in the previous season. AFC teams will be hosting the 17th game in 2021. Beyond next season, the league plans for some of the extra games to be at international sites.
This year, the AFC East will host the NFC East in Week 17, with Washington at Buffalo, the New York Giants at Miami, Dallas at New England and Philadelphia at the New York Jets.
The NFC West teams will visit AFC North clubs, with Seattle at Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore, Arizona at Cleveland and San Francisco at Cincinnati.
Full schedule release in May
NFC South members go to the AFC South, so New Orleans will be at Tennessee, Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay at Indianapolis, Carolina at Houston and Atlanta at Jacksonville.
For NFC North clubs, Green Bay goes to Kansas City for a juicy matchup of Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, while Chicago is at Las Vegas, Minnesota at the Los Angeles Chargers and Detroit at Denver.
The Super Bowl will be played in Los Angeles at SoFi Stadium..
"We have been in constant communication with our partners about this change, and we're excited for the unprecedented opportunity of presenting the American audience with the two biggest events in media simultaneously," NBC said in a statement. "We will promote the Super Bowl during the first week of the Winter Olympics, and we'll promote the second week of the Winter Olympics during the Super Bowl. It's a win for us, our partners, advertisers, and certainly viewers."
Last season, the league added two playoff teams to increase the number of post-season games to pandemic-stressed season.