Roger Goodell mulls 18-game NFL schedule, 20-week season

By Kevin Kelley -

Modified just three years ago, the current NFL schedule consists of 17 regular-season games over an 18-week period along with three preseason games.

During an appearance on the “Pat McAfee Show” on Friday following the first day of the NFL Draft, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that he is mulling another revision to the slate.

Goodell would like the league to move to an 18-game schedule over a 20-week period and reduce the number of preseason games from three to two.

“I think we’re good at 17 now,” Goodell said. “But, listen, we’re looking at how we continue. I’m not a fan of the preseason.

“And I don’t think these guys like it either (gesturing towards a group of fans). The reality is, I’d rather replace a preseason game with a regular season game any day. That’s just picking quality. If we get to 18 and 2, that’s not an unreasonable thing.”

If the league were to move to an 18-game schedule with two bye weeks, then the Super Bowl could be moved to Presidents Day weekend followed by a Monday holiday.

“And then you have Monday off,” Goodell said.

Well, some people would have Monday off, not everyone. Presidents Day is a federal holiday, so government offices and most banks and public schools are closed. But retail and private businesses remain open.

If the league does expand the schedule, it likely won’t happen for a couple of years at a minimum. But Goodell sees the increase in regular-season games as an opportunity to expand the number of international contests played.


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Comments (10)

I think the NFL will get to a point where each team will have a sister city outside the United States and half their home games will be played in the NFL city and half their home games will be played in their foreign sister city. So, 9 and 9. Just watch!

The game is getting more dangerous, and they’re trying to add MORE games?
This has nothing to do with player safety.
Might as well play rugby if we’re going to play this many games. I have nothing against rugby, I’ve seen it live a couple times (although I still don’t understand most of the rules), but the top leagues play ~20 games per season.

I am only a fan of the 2nd bye week if it is used to surround a Thursday Night game.

Play Sunday have 10 days before the Thursday Night Game, then 10 days after the Thursday night game. Arrange practices with the Players Association to give players days (maybe on the two weekends). Each team can play one Thursday game a year from week 2 through 14 (including three games on Thanksgiving Thursday).

I taught for 8 years–in my other 27 years of working, I have never had Presidents Day off. Everybody says that and while many will be off, it is far from the majority.

The current 17-game schedule has never made sense. What other major sport plays an odd number of games? Answer: None. It’s confusing for fans, too. One year, you get 9 home games; the next year, 8.

We can all see a scenario where every team plays 8 home and 8 away with two international games per year. Maybe two is too much, but we can see where Goodell is going here.

One thing everybody agrees with Goodell on—Nobody likes the preseason. I have not watched a preseason football game since…I don’t think I have ever watched one!

Side note—a wealthy friend of mine played in a charity golf tournament with Roger Goodell in his foursome and said he was fantastic—funny, witty, chatty and engaging. he asked my friend and the others about their families and was genuinely interested in what they told him. He even gave some opinions about some of the NFL owners. He is also a 7 handicap golfer and can really hit it.

Never judge books by their covers!

You are right no other sport plays an odd number, baseball 162 games, even number, NBA and NHL 82 games , even number, but NFL 17 games , odd number so it’s either 9 home 8 road or 9 road 8 home. The players would prefer going back to 16.

If you add a second bye week (they used to do this), that addresses the safety/danger issue, at least on the surface, they can say they’re doing something.

The CFL, a 9-team outfit, plays 18 games over 21 weeks. Obviously with 9 teams, they have to add another week, which would not be necessary in the NFL.

Hate to say it–but fans don’t care about player safety. I know I don’t. These guys choose to play, they make great money, they know the risks. While fans shed fake tears for Nick Chubb, they kept watching and hoping that his replacement could get things going and lead the Browns to victory.

College football is actually helping the NFL here—with the expanded CFP, teams could play 12 regular season games, a conference championship game and then, four CFP games for a total of 17. The top four seeds would play a minimum of 16. The FCS has a 24-team playoff and even though their champion usually ends the season with 15 total games, they could also play 16, like Bo Pelini’s Youngstown State team did when they reached the FCS final in 2016.

Let’s not kid ourselves—the NFL wants all of our entertainment money. More games gives them more packages to sell–and by adding an 18th, that’s 32 more games to offer.

The players will buy in–they’ll accept more money and they’ll call the second bye a fabulous way to prevent player injuries.

The NFL has already announced plans to dominate Christmas–why wouldn’t they play more games. They’d play 20 if they could!

When the NFL adds an 18th game to the schedule please let it be a conference game, not an interconference game.

Perhaps instead of an 18th game the league could add a playoff team in each conference and adopt a playoff format similar to that used by the Australian Rules Football League.

The 4 division champs in each conference would play each other (division champ with worst record, seeded #4, plays at division champ with the best record, seeded #1; #3 plays @ #2) in the first round, as do the 4 wild card teams (#4 @ #1; #3 @ #2) . The division champs who win advance and receive a bye the next week; the 2 losers among the division champs host the wild card winners in the second round, with the winners advancing to play the division champs who won the first week. The winners of those two games then play in the Conference Championship.