When Did the NFL Go to 17 Games?

The NFL regular season has been 16 games long since 1978. But with the league expanding to 17 games in 2021, some fans are wondering when the change happened.

1981 Season

The 1981 NFL season was the 62nd regular season of the National Football League (NFL). The season ended with Super Bowl XVI when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, Michigan. This was the first season the NFL implemented a 16-game regular season schedule.

Strike shortens season to 9 games

In 1982, there was a players’ strike that lasted for 57 days, from July 1 to August 31. As a result of the work stoppage, the 1982 season was shortened to nine games. The NFL Players Association and the NFL Management Council reached a new collective bargaining agreement on August 30, 1982, which gave players 55% of designated gross revenues.

1982 Season

In 1982, the NFL added two additional regular-season games to the schedule, expanding it from a 14-game season to a 16-game season. The two additional games were added to the end of the season, with each team playing one additional game. The NFL playoffs also expanded, from 10 teams to 12 teams.

Strike again shortens season to 9 games

The 1982 season was shortened due to a player strike, and eventually consisted of only nine regular season games. This was the first time since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 that the season was not at least ten games long. The strike began on July 1, and ended on August 8. Training camps were also affected, as many teams did not hold their usual three-week camp prior to the start of the season.

The regular season schedule was released on August 9, with the regular season set to begin on September 12. The first week of games was moved to the week of October 10, as most teams had only four weeks of practice. The final game of the season was played on December 12.

1983 Season

In the 1982 season, every team played 16 games. This was the fourth year of the 16 game regular season schedule that the NFL had adopted in 1978. The NFL had experimented with a 17 game schedule in the strike shortened 1982 season.

NFL goes to 16 game season

In the 1982 NFL season, a players’ strike reduced the season to nine games. This led the NFL to consider expanding the regular season from 16 games to 17 games in order to make up for lost revenue. The NFL ultimately decided against expanding the season and instead implemented a playoff system that included 10 teams (6 from each conference). The new playoff system was met with mixed reactions from fans and pundits alike.

1984 Season

The 1984 NFL season was the 65th regular season of the National Football League. The season started on September 2, 1984, with the regular season ending on December 23, 1984. The Colts played their home games at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, while the Lions played their home games at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan.

NFL goes to 17 game season

In September 1982, the NFL owners voted to go to a 17-game season, starting with the 1984 season. The move was made in order to add two additional weeks of television broadcasts for the league on NBC. The NFL had been televising games on Sunday afternoons since 1955, but it wasn’t until 1970 that a full slate of games were shown every week.

The players were not thrilled with the idea of playing one more regular season game, and they filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL in response. The case dragged on for years, and it wasn’t until 1993 that it was finally resolved. In the end, the players lost and the 17-game season became a reality.

The expanded schedule meant that each team would now play every other team in the league at least once during the regular season. To balance things out, each team would also have one bye week built into their schedule.

The extra game also meant that the playoffs would have to be expanded. In 1984, eight teams from each conference made the playoffs (up from six in previous years). The four division winners would receive a bye into the divisional round, while the other eight teams would play in the wild card round.

The additional game has proved to be a financial windfall for the NFL, as it has allowed them to sell more television rights and generate more revenue from ticket sales and merchandise.

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