Ever since the league secured their right to implement a 17-game schedule as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, it was always a matter of “when” and not “if” the NFL would start playing 17-game regular-seasons.
So it should come as no surprise that the league enacted a 17-game season almost immediately:
A 17-game regular season is now official.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 30, 2021
A regular season with 17 games means just three preseason contests. I must say that swapping an exhibition game for one that could be of consequence is a pretty neat pull for the league. And with the Bears on the road for the extra game in 2021, it means they’ll host two of the three preseason games in 2021. But when Chicago’s football team gets an extra home game in 2022, it will be on the road for two of three games. That’s a small price to pay in the long run.
As for what this means to the NFL’s schedule, here are some important dates to remember:
⇒ Week 1 begins on Thursday, Sept. 9
⇒ Our first slate of Sunday games kick off on Sept. 12
⇒ The Pro Bowl returns on Feb. 6 in Las Vegas
⇒ Super Bowl LVI takes place on Feb. 13, 2022 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles
Hopefully, the Bears are well represented in the Pro Bowl, but are unable to play because of Super Bowl preparations.
Hey, a guy can dream … can’t he?
As for the 17th game, Tom Pelissero makes it official (with an explanation as to the formula):
Here are the added 17th games for the 2021 season, plus an outline of how the schedule works going forward: pic.twitter.com/swfcHuTQa9
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 30, 2021
And most important of all, the Bears are going to Las Vegas. If anyone needs me, I’ll be clearing my schedule for my first Vegas trip since January 2020. Bon voyage!