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NFL expanding to 17-game schedule, per report

Owners will make it official later this month.

Super Bowl LV Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

On the second day of the new league year, the NFL announced its new TV deals that will run until 2033. One of the immediate impacts this will have on the league is the length of the regular season.

For over a year now, it’s been heavily speculated that future seasons will add a 17th game to the schedule, and per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the new schedule will become official later this month during the annual league meetings. It’s the first time in 43 years that the NFL has increased the number of games in the regular season.

A 17th game means the preseason will be diminished the either two or three games, which will be discussed amongst owners. Last year’s Collective Bargaining Agreement included a player’s vote for a 17-game season, but it would not become a reality until the new media deals became official.

The Bengals were already projected to host the San Francisco 49ers for their 17th game of the 2021 season. This is how the matchups will be determined going forward:

New scheduling procedures with respect to the 17th regular-season game will “be an interconference match-up based on divisional standings” from the previous campaign, and “on a rotating divisional basis” in a fashion similar to current scheduling standards that annually see one AFC division play an entire NFC division, and so on.

Ultimately, it’s more football, and fewer preseason games leading up to it.