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NFL: When does the 2021-2022 season start? 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV
ANALYST
Modified 12 Feb 2021
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It's the same for many of us. You try your best to enjoy the Super Bowl, but more often than not, the thoughts are right there in the back of your mind even before the first punt of the day. Dark, negative thoughts eating away at you: ' is this it? Is this the end of the season? What do I do with my life now?

We've all been there. It was probably this exact thought process that led you to Google-search, 'when does the NFL 2021-22 season start?' in the first place, and that's likely how we've found each other.

Don't worry. I'm here to help.

When does the 2021-22 NFL season begin?

Indianapolis Colts Training Camp
Indianapolis Colts Training Camp

The 2021-22 NFL season is set to begin on Thursday, 9 September 2021. The NFL Kickoff Game will see Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, get things underway on home turf at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

The opponent for the Bucs is as yet unknown, but the NFL does usually announce the fixture-list during the 3rd week of April.

I know; I know: eight months is a long time to wait.

Fear not though. If you need NFL action before September, preseason training camps and games are scheduled to take place from late July to late August. Fans were robbed of the pre-season games last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but fingers crossed this year's set of games will get the green light to go ahead.

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There is also the rearranged Pro Football Hall of Fame contest between Dallas and Pittsburgh, which is expected to be held on 5 August 2021. The game had been scheduled to take place in 2020 but, like everything else in the west, was called off due to COVID-19.

When is the next Super Bowl?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV

At present, it's only possible to give a predicted date for the next Super Bowl. This is because the NFL seeks to expand its regular season fixture list by one game, going from a 16 game regular season to a 17 game regular season. This is entirely dependant on America's continued battles against the COVID-19 pandemic and we won't find out exactly what's happening in this regard for a few months yet.

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That being said, if NFL chief-commissioner Roger Goodell opts to stick with the current 16-game regular season format, the Super Bowl will almost certainly take place on Sunday 6 February 2022 at the SoFi Stadium, home to the Los Angeles Rams. If Goodell opts to add an extra game to the calendar, you can expect to see the Super Bowl on 13 February 2022 instead.

When will the international games take place?

Fans from the Houston Texans vs Jacksonville Jaguars game
Fans from the Houston Texans vs Jacksonville Jaguars game

Last year, the NFL's scheduled international games had to be pulled due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, this was the correct thing to do, but many fans in foreign lands (particularly in the UK) want to know when the international games will be back on their shores.

Here's what chief commissioner Goodell had to say about the matter during his most recent Super Bowl press conference:

“We are planning for international games in 2021, that’s the approach we’re going to take. We’re obviously going to stay in close contact with our partners in the UK… and make sure that we are doing that safely. If at any point we don’t think we can execute on it safely we will make that determination… We hope to get back there and we’re planning for it and we’ll make that decision whenever we have enough information to do so.”
Published 12 Feb 2021, 16:39 IST
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