NFL 18-Game Season Plans: Is it Possible and When Could It Happen?

This season is the first in over 40 years to feature 17 games in the regular season, and already there is much talk of a move to an 18th. Much speculation is going around that suggests that the NFL is ready to expand in a big way, with four new teams being discussed as well as the additional game. Could this really happen? And if so, when would it be likely?

The NFL is well used to making decisions that are solely based on making money, such as the overseas games designed to capture a ‘new audience,’ which is code for more revenue, and as such, talk of other ways the league can make money will always be entirely believable. 

Change is rare in the NFL, so for there already to be talk of further significant alterations says a lot about where the league is right now. Perhaps the changes are a result of the financial hit taken during the coronavirus pandemic or a general move to address issues; the key is, are the decisions ones that teams and players are also happy with? 

Extending the season will have repercussions, as will the addition of new teams and for sports betting fans, it could provide a raft of new opportunities, and with that in mind, we’d push you in the way of this sports odds comparison site to help keep your betting strategy on track.

A move to an 18-game regular season could be in play as soon as 2025; this is despite the fact that the NFL’s CBA isn’t up for renewal until 2030. The move is said to lead to the addition of at least two teams, moving the league from 32 to 34 franchises. 

Some even predict that 40 teams might be the magic number that the NFL is aiming for, leading to a more natural league system with eight divisions of five teams, which then fits a schedule of a 16 playoff team set-up.

The additional franchises that could be created have already been discussed by pundits and experts alike, and the following cities are often mentioned; St Louis, San Antonio, Toronto, and…wait for it…London. 

The NFL has added only four franchises since 1976, and as such, the addition of this amount in a matter of a few years seems hard to get your head around, but all this talk isn’t coming from a blank void. It’s almost as if the league’s top chiefs are deliberately warming up the public to the idea.

Fans, on the whole, will always welcome additional games and teams as it means more NFL for them to watch. On the other hand, players may not be keen on the extra games this results in; after all, playing pro football is a serious strain on the body, and those additional weeks will mount up. 

There are also some purists who don’t like the fact that the rapid expansion will wipe out records set in the current era. In other words, as an example, Peyton Manning’s 5477 passing yards in 2013, which beat 2011’s record by Drew Brees (who had surpassed a record that had stood for over 25 years), would be easily overcome given the additional games.

Clearly, that isn’t a major issue, but the NFL is built on traditions, and change is usually not something that is taken lightly by those who have to sign off on any possible developments that would alter the league in a significant manner.