The NFL recently instituted a 17 game schedule, which applies not just for this season, as the 17 game regular season will be fixture for future seasons to come. The reason for the league doing so appears quite obvious: more revenue for the television companies that broadcast the games, more revenue for the teams, and more revenue for the stadiums that will house the extra home games.
Fans of football would be expected to be happy, yet the online perception seems lukewarm. Many people have no strong opinions either way, and it seems like everyone has that “okay cool, next” attitude.
Furthermore, there are some aspects of this change that should have been thought out prior. With the regular season now being 17 games, half of the league will have more home games than away, and vice versa. This can be seen as unfair by the organizations, the players, and most importantly the fans. There are two viable solutions that could have been brought forth:
The first solution is to go a step further and extend the season to 18 games. This would bring the schedule to an even number, problem solved! (Plus if we’re going to 17, why not 18?)
Another solution, which could be somewhat interesting, is to have that last game at a neutral site. However, we are not out of the COVID Pandemic quite yet, so it seems London games are out of the question for this upcoming season.
To take this idea further, think about all the teams that have been relocated in the past 10 years. San Diego, Oakland, and St. Louis are just a few cities that come to mind. Historic venues could be brought into consideration as well: the Alamodome and the Cotton Bowl. These places could potentially hold neutral NFL games, while providing a feeling of nostalgia all the while.
This is what the NFL fails at: making new changes exciting. Adding a single game to the regular season schedule is like your parents giving you just one extra marshmallow in your hot chocolate. Nothing too exciting. Had the NFL spiced things up for that last week of the season, there would probably be more reaction among NFL fans and players.
Nonetheless NFL viewers are probably happy to watch an extra weekend of football every season. However, the NFL could have done so much more with this extra game, and it feels as though there is a lot left to be desired from this additional game on the schedule.