National Football League team owners voted to expand the regular season to 17 games per team at the Annual League Meeting on Tuesday. The preseason schedule will now consists of three games per team.
Under the new 17-game schedule, the New York Giants will gain an extra road trip next season. They will travel to Miami to play the Dolphins in their 17th game matchup, marking the second time the two teams will meet in three seasons. The teams most recently met on Dec. 15, 2019 in the last game Eli Manning played in his career.
“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “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.”
Going forward, each team will participate in an extra AFC or NFC game based on division standings from the prior season and on a rotating divisional basis with AFC teams as the home squad for the additional game this season. The four NFC East teams will travel to the AFC East teams that finished in the same position in the standings in 2020. Both the Giants and Dolphins were the second-place teams in their respective divisions.
All NFC teams will play nine road games and eight home games in 2021. The Giants’ 17th game will be played in MetLife Stadium in 2022.
Additionally, all 32 teams will play in at least one international game once every eight years, per the new enhanced schedule.
NFL Kickoff Weekend will begin Thursday, Sept. 9, and the regular season will end Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. Super Bowl LVI is scheduled to take place on Feb. 13, 2022 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
The schedule change will usher in a new era in the NFL. Since 1978, the league has played a 16-game regular season. Before that, it played 14 games. The extra game will likely help owners make up for the the effects of this year’s salary cap drop by creating more revenue.
Though the change in schedule was expected, it will result in many adjustments for the NFL. For example, no team will ever be .500 again. There will likely be more injuries, but there will also be more records broken moving forward.