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NFL: How will the new 17-game schedule impact the league?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Tyler Wombles
Modified 01 Apr 2021

The 17-game NFL schedule is official. The league will deploy the new format this upcoming season after NFL team owners approved it on Tuesday. The new 17-game schedule will bring increased revenue to the league as well as players, according to ESPN.

But that's not the only way the NFL will be affected by the change. The preseason will be cut to three games from four, as the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFL Player's Association only allows for 20 total games played in one league year.

Many other changes to league operations are expected in response to the new schedule format.

NFL teams will now play five inter-conference games instead of four to make up for the extra game. AFC teams will have home-field advantage in 2021 and NFC teams will have it the following year.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke of the possibilities the schedule expansion could bring to the league. "This is a monumental moment in NFL history," Goodell said, according to CBS Sports. "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."

Many in NFL aren't excited about the new schedule

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette during Super Bowl LV.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette during Super Bowl LV.

Responses to the schedule change weren't all positive. Many players were critical of the 17-game schedule, with most concerned about the effect it will have on the players' health.

"Sixteen (games) is a lot. You know what I mean?" Tampa Bay Buccaneers tailback Leonard Fournette said on Wednesday, according to WFLA in Tampa. "This is a brutal game and injuries do occur, but it is what it is."

Former NFL receiver Torrey Smith tweeted that adjustments will be needed to help players get through a 17-game schedule.

"17 games in the NFL is great for (money) but they are going to have to adjust practices and what a regular offseason looks like," Smith tweeted Sunday. "Dudes were already falling apart playing 16. As a whole this is great but adjustments have to be made."


New Orleans Saints star running back Alvin Karama also tweeted his thoughts Sunday, using expletives and calling the change "dumb."

Published 01 Apr 2021, 05:53 IST
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