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NFL to expand regular season games to 17 from next season, could player welfare be hindered?

National Football League (NFL) owners look set to approve the expansion of the regular season to 17 games from 16, as of next season.

NFL to expand regular season games to 17 from next season

The move to add an additional game to the schedule would be the first format change since the NFL moved from 14 to the current 16 games in 1978.

Owners are due to discuss the probable format change this week, before conformation is made next week.

The idea has been touted since the NFL and NFL Players' Association approved the latest collective bargaining agreement in March 2020.

It is anticipated that preseason will be cut to three games rather than the usual four, while all 32 teams will retain their one bye week, bringing the total regular season to 18 weeks.

Other factors being discussed as part of the format changes include the Super Bowl being pushed back a week, as well as requirements to play at least one international game every eight years from the 2022 season.

Despite their being many benefits to the move, including having more games that count and fewer preseason games, player welfare is being discussed as something that may come as an issue for the match extension.

With an extra regular season game, there will be greater chance of injuries as a result of the shorter preseason period. NFL players often suffer later in their life from their playing days and having their season extended, even by one game, is a greater toll on their bodies which is already under a huge amount of stress in the 16-game season already.

Author: Jake Wilkin