Regular season and playoffs explained

The 2022 NFL kicks off on September 8, 2022, and before it begins there will be three weeks of preseason and a Hall of Fame game. The Jaguars will face the Raiders in the Hall of Fame game on August 5. Teams would play three preseason games instead of four.

Last year, the ABC announced the expansion of the NFL from 16 games to a 17-game format. In 1978 they changed the format from 14 games to 16 games. It was the first time the NFL had expanded in 43 years. All welcomed and appreciated the decision. It was monumental. It also affected the draft, as the coaches were more flexible, and that was evident in the NFL draft odds.

Why was the NFL expanded?

Expansion was due, and COVID became the main reason. Due to the pandemic, owners have lost a lot of money on entry, and the discount sales have also hurt their pockets. The NFLPA and the owners agreed to the expansion for reasons of money and league growth.

With another week, the NFL would get more screen time, more ads, more ticket sales and increased coverage. It also made sense to implement the long-awaited extension clause in the CBA.

How would the extended season work?

Prior to the expansion, in a 16-game season, each team would play four preseason games as well as the Hall of Fame game.

Making the pre-season short would benefit the teams. Instead of resting their hard-hitting players, coaches would better assess the roster by giving everyone a run before the regular season.

Previously, coaches guarded their starting line to protect them from injury. With a short pre-season, coaches would have more flexibility to experiment with combinations.

The regular season would last one more week. The start of the league would remain unchanged, meaning the play-offs would be pushed back a week. Thus, the SuperBowl would take place on the second Sunday of February instead of the first.

The match schedule would also change. Teams will play nine home games and eight on the road, while some will have eight home games and nine on the road. Home advantage could be crucial for teams; however, the schedule will change each season.

Other than that, there wouldn’t be many changes to the season, only one more week. Similarly, teams would still have a week off.

How would teams be affected by the change?

With the addition of one more game, teams would be in a more comfortable position to rest their players. Rotation would be much easier and player management would also improve. Players struggle with back-and-forth games because of the sheer physics; therefore, the team’s management would settle for the expansion.

How would Game 17 be decided?

The format was simple, as the NFL matched the AFC and NFC divisions. Opponents were chosen based on their ranking from last season. The team that finished first would play against the team that finished first in the respective division, the second position with the second position, and so on.

Would there be another expansion?

The right to expand 17 games belonged to the owners, and further expansion would require negotiations with players and other affected parties. However, the NFL would like to grow, keeping monetary value and sponsors in mind.

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