NFL’s Expanded Schedule: What Are the Likely Consequences?
The NFL game schedule has been the same for the past forty-three years. In 1978 the fourteen-game schedule was changed to a sixteen-game program, which remained so until now. Last year, during the offseason, the NFL made a surprising change to the plan, making it a seventeen-game program.
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The move to expand the schedule is said to help enhance the quality of NFL games and experience for the fans, supporters, and everyone involved. The plan is to increase the number of NFL games per year and grow the viewership of NFL games worldwide. If you do not understand the expanded schedule, keep reading to learn more about the benefits of a more extended season.
Why Was the Schedule Expanded?
Indeed, this is expected to be the first question on people’s minds. Most people would like to know why the decision to expand the schedule was taken when the current one is working just fine. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has stated that the sole intention of the expansion was to grow the game, but many critics are saying that the decision revolved around money.
This schedule has already been signed into the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NPFL, and is commencing next season.
How the Expanded Schedule Works
The expanded schedule will make changes in all aspects of the league. Here is how:
Preseason: This expansion has affected the preseason games significantly. They have become shorter, and instead of each team playing four games, they will be playing three. This is a good thing for the teams, as the coaches can reevaluate their roster.
Coaches can now save their starter players. In recent times, they have refrained from playing their starters during preseason games. This can help them avoid certain situations and eliminate the chances of injuries for their star players. The less qualified players can play preseason while veterans are saved for future games.
The Regular Season : The preseason got shorter, while the regular season got longer. It is now one week longer than it was previously, and for this to happen, playoffs have to be pushed a week forward.
Another difference of note is the absence of schedule symmetry. Some teams would now play nine home games and eight road games, while some will play eight home games and nine road games. The number of home and road games each team plays will change from season to season.
Apart from these mentioned above, there is not much difference to the game schedule. We look forward to enjoying the seventeen-game season.
Pros of the Extended Schedule
The NFL wouldn’t work so hard to extend the schedule if there was no benefit. Some of the benefits to expect include:
Revenue Spike: More gameplays equate to more money, and everyone, including the NFL, wants to make more money. An increase in the NFL revenue can mean significant changes in the league. With additional games, there will be more ticket sales, and more ticket sales mean more money. This is an uncomplicated way for the NFL to make more money.
Increase in Viewership : The expansion means that there will be a reduction in the number of preseason games played every year. Preseason games are aired locally, while seasoned post games are broadcasted nationally. With more games shown on national television, it simply means that the games gain more national viewership, and ultimately, this could mean more money for the NFL.
Reducing Preseason Games: The importance of preseason games cannot be overlooked, but many coaches and players have complained that four preseason games are too many. With the expanded schedule, the number of preseason games each team gets to play is three. This enables them to play fewer players and gives the team time to rest and prepare for the real deal. It is a win-win situation for everybody.
Setting New Records: It’s about time new NFL records are set. There are now more opportunities for players to go out and showcase their skills, make new records, and break old ones. The addition of one week might seem like a short time, but it could make all the difference for a player. All fans should get ready to see new records this season.
Drawbacks of the Extended Schedule
Some drawbacks to expect due to the extended schedule may include:
More Injuries: The first thing we have to worry about is more avenues for players to get injured. We like to see more football, but unfortunately, it also comes with more injuries. For every game played, there is a corresponding number of injuries that can be attached to it. Are we willing to risk players getting injured for the sake of getting more games?
The preseason games being reduced will pose an issue to younger players who are trying to showcase their talents and impress the coaches. Two or three games may be good enough for some, but other players will need that extra game to impress the coach and find their way to the post-season games.
One extra week may not seem like a lot of time to most football fans because everyone wants to see more football on their screens, but it can make a big difference to the teams, players, and the NFL as a whole.
Since this is the first time the seventeen-game program will be played, we can only speculate the outcome. All fans are advised to relax and enjoy the new season. And of course, this doesn’t stop fans from getting some free time to play some stick cricket all-star slog.