The NFL is still in discussions for a new collective bargaining agreement, and an expanded regular season is on the table. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell revealed Wednesday at the conclusion of the fall owners' meetings that a 17-game regular season is part of the CBA talks, in which the league would still plan to start the weekend after Labor Day and play deeper into February.
Goodell didn't go any further into how the 17-game schedule would work, but there are plenty of issues to be addressed. Earlier this year, NFL Network reported that the owners and players are at least interested in exploring -- accompanied by a move from 12 to 14 playoff teams. If the league expands the postseason by two teams and adds an extra regular-season game, the postseason could start as many as two weekends after New Year's Day in the middle of January. The current 16-game slate typically concludes around the final Sunday in December.
If the NFL goes to a 17-game schedule, would an extra bye week be implemented? A 17-game slate creates an imbalance in the home and road games, which could lead to that 17th game being played at a neutral site. Would a bye be implemented after the neutral site game? Would that be the only bye week or could the owners defer to the players and create a second bye? If that's the case, the NFL would expand from the current 17-week schedule to 19 weeks.
Since the league wants to start after Labor Day weekend, what does that do for the length of the preseason? If the league shortens the preseason to three games, does the preseason start a week later? If the preseason starts the second weekend of August, training camp could start a week later as well.
Then there's the matter of the postseason. If the playoffs start in the middle of January with 14 teams, the format wouldn't change. Super Bowl two weeks later. That would put the Super Bowl on President's Day weekend, which appears to be a solution for the NFL.would have the top seed earning a first round bye while the No. 2 through No. 7 seed playing on wild card weekend. The divisional round would be the No. 1 seed vs. lowest remaining seed and the winners of other two games that aren't the lowest remaining seeds. Conference championship weekend would follow, with the
There's still plenty of work to be done if the NFL goes to 17 games, though. First, the players have to be on board.