NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – For the first time in decades, the NFL has adjusted the amount of games played in its regular season.
The NFL will now add a 17th game to its previous 16-game season. This will go into effect immediately for the 2021 season.
“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The NFL Players Association and team owners agreed to this change when the two sides negotiated and signed the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2020. The news that the 17th game is official comes after owners met on Tuesday and approved the change.
With the addition of a regular season game, comes the removal of one preseason game. The previous four-game preseason schedule will now just be three games. The season will still start on time, the week after Labor Day weekend in September.
There will be no additional bye week added to the schedule. Instead, it will consist of 17 games in 18 weeks. The Super Bowl will get pushed back by one week to accommodate the additional game.
The additional game is an intraconference contest based on prior year’s standings. The AFC South and NFC South will face off in 2021 with the AFC playing host.
The AFC South champion Titans will now add a home game against the New Orleans Saints who finished on top in the NFC South.
Under the new scheduling formula, clubs will have the opportunity to host 10 total games — either nine regular-season games and one preseason game or eight regular-season games and two preseason games. By this standard, the Titans will have one home preseason game and two on the road. Additionally, all 32 teams are required to play an international game at least once in an 8-year period starting in 2022. The expectation is by adding the additional regular-season game, the league can expand its international contests to new locations in the future.
The NFL also told clubs today that Phase 1 of OTAs will begin April 19th. Typically, teams with a new head coach can begin sooner, but all teams will start on the same day. The league is working with the Players Association to determine whether the off-season training program will begin in-person or virtually.