The NFL is expected to officially announce that it is going to expand its regular-season schedule from 16 games to 17 beginning in the upcoming 2021 season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported on Sunday.
The league had played with a 16-game schedule since 1978, which provided the longest stretch in its history that it didn’t make a change.
It was only a matter of time before the change was instituted seeing as it was agreed upon in the NFL’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) back in March 2020 — even if it didn’t have unanimous support from the players.
Most notably, Seattle Seahawks star quarterback Russell Wilson voiced his opposition to the idea as the CBA passed by just 60 votes in a process that included 1,978 players.
Ultimately, this provides an extra week for the NFL to gain even more revenue as the most popular sport in the United States.
With the NFL having previously released opponents for each team’s 16-game schedule in 2021, an additional team had to be added to what is now in total an 18-week campaign.
Each team’s 17th opponent is one from the opposing conference outside of the historically rotating interdivisional matchups.
For example, teams from the NFC East were scheduled to play each team from the AFC West in its usual 16-game schedule. But the 17th game provides a matchup with a team from the AFC East based on their finish from last season.
That means the Eagles will likely meet the New York Jets, who finished last in that division in 2020.