Why Did the NFL Go to 17 Games?

The NFL’s decision to go to a 17-game regular season has been met with a lot of criticism. Here’s a look at why the league made the switch.

The NFL’s History of Expansion

The NFL has a long history of expanding its number of regular season games. The league added two games in 1961, bringing the total to 14. In 1978, the NFL expanded to 16 games. Now, in 2021, the NFL has gone to 17 regular season games. Why has the NFL been so willing to add more games?

The AFL-NFL Merger

In 1966, the NFL and the American Football League (AFL) completed their merger, creating one league with two conferences. As part of the merger agreement, the NFL agreed to expand from its then-current total of fourteen clubs to a total of twenty-six clubs. This occurred in stages; four clubs were added in 1967 (Atlanta, New Orleans, Oakland, and Seattle), and two more in 1968 (Cincinnati and San Diego). After the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, an additional twelve clubs were added over a period of ten years: Denver and Miami in 1971; Tampa Bay in 1976; Baltimore, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Houston, Jacksonville, New England Patriots and San Francisco in 1995; Carolina and Houston Oilers (now Tennessee Titans) in 2002.

The Creation of the AFC and NFC

In order to accommodate the new team, the NFL realigned itself into two conferences — the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). The NFL did this in order to create a more balanced schedule and give every team a chance to play each other. This realignment also allowed for a better playoff system, as the two best teams from each conference would meet in the Super Bowl.

The first Super Bowl was played in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers won that game, but it would be the Chiefs who would have the last laugh. In 1970, the Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV to become the first — and still only — team to win both an AFL Championship and a Super Bowl.

The NFL’s Modern History of Expansion

The National Football League has seen a lot of expansion in its 100 plus years of existence. The most recent expansion was in 2020, when the league went from 16 games to 17 games. This was done for a number of reasons, including increasing revenue and giving players a longer offseason. Let’s take a look at the NFL’s history of expansion.

The Addition of the 16th Game

In 1978, the NFL regular season was expanded from 14 games to 16 games. The move was made in order to accommodate the league’s growing popularity, as well as to generate additional revenue.

The 16-game schedule proved to be a success, and by the mid-1980s, the NFL was once again looking to expand. In 1986, the league added two more regular season games, bringing the total to 18.

However, the added games came at a cost. Players and coaches complained that the longer season was too demanding, and that it increased their risk of injury. In 1987, several high-profile players retired rather than risk their health in an 18-game season.

Despite these concerns, the NFL decided to keep the 18-game schedule in place. In 2010, the league voted to add two more regular season games, bringing the total to 20. This most recent expansion has been met with mixed reactions from players and fans alike.

The Addition of the Wild Card Round

In 1978, the NFL expanded its playoff format from eight teams to 10, adding a second wild-card team from each conference. The new playoff system meant that there would be four divisional games on Wild Card Weekend instead of two.

The expanded playoff format was not well received by all. Some argued that the extra game devalued the regular season and made it less important. Others believed that adding more teams to the playoffs would water down the quality of play in the postseason.

However, the expanded playoff format proved to be extremely popular with fans. Wild Card Weekend quickly became one of the most popular weekends on the NFL calendar, as it gave more teams a chance to compete for the Lombardi Trophy.

In 2020, the NFL expanded its playoff format once again, this time from 12 teams to 14. The league added a third wild-card team from each conference, meaning that there would now be six divisional games on Wild Card Weekend.

The expanded playoff format has been met with mixed reactions from fans and pundits alike. Some believe that it waters down the quality of play in the postseason, while others believe that it gives more teams a chance to compete for a championship. No matter what side of the debate you fall on, one thing is for sure: Wild Card Weekend is here to stay.

Why Did the NFL Go to 17 Games?

The NFL decided to go to 17 games for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that they wanted to generate more revenue. With two additional games, they would be able to sell more tickets and bring in more money from TV contracts. Additionally, they hoped that by adding more games, they would make the season more exciting for fans.

The Need for More Revenue

The most common answer you’ll hear when asking why the NFL went to a 17 game season is money. In 2020, the league brought in $15 billion in revenue. That’s an obscene amount of money, and it’s only going to continue to grow.

The NFL is a business like any other, and their number one goal is to make as much money as possible. That’s why they’ve been expanding internationally and why they’re always looking for new ways to monetize their product.

Adding two extra games to the season is an easy way to bring in more revenue. Each team will now play one additional home game, which means more ticket sales and more concessions. Additionally, the league will be able to sell more advertising and broadcast rights.

It’s important to remember that the NFL is a very smart business. They wouldn’t make this change if they didn’t think it would be profitable. So far, it seems like they were right — the 17 game season was a huge success, and the league is already planning on expanding again in 2021.

The Desire to Increase Parity

The National Football League (NFL) is expanding its regular season from 16 games to 17 games starting in the 2021 season. The additional game will be added to the end of the schedule and each team will now play one opponent from the opposite conference that they did not play during the regular season. The NFL made this change in an effort to increase parity among its teams.

In recent years, there have been concerns that some teams are too dominant and that the playoffs are not as competitive as they could be. By Adding an additional game, the NFL believes that more teams will have a chance to make the playoffs and that the overall level of competition will improve.

In addition, the NFL is also changing its playoff format for the 2021 season. The new format will add an additional playoff team in each conference, for a total of 14 teams (up from 12). This means that there will now be 7 playoff games in each conference, instead of 6.

The desire to increase parity among its teams is not the only reason why the NFL decided to go to 17 games. The league is also hoping to generate more revenue by adding an additional game to each team’s schedule. It is estimated that the NFL will bring in an additional $2.66 billion in revenue as a result of this change.

The NFL’s decision to expand its regular season has been met with some criticism from players and fans. Some believe that 17 games is too many and that it puts too much wear and tear on players’ bodies. Others believe that the expanded playoff format devalues the importance of winning a division title. Nonetheless, it appears that the NFL is moving forward with its plans to increase parity and generate more revenue.

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