The NFL has had a 16-game regular season four over four decades. Despite the history and consistency of playing a 16-game regular season since the 1978 season, the NFL may be ready to alter the number of games teams play. NFL fans have been enjoying the opening weeks of the football season. Fans can wager on their favorite team using Betway NFL and follow the hard-hitting gridiron action. 

An 18-game NFL season may be on the horizon as team owners seek to maximize profits and get more gridiron action on the field during the season. Although there are plenty of arguments being made by players and coaches, it looks like a two-game increase is inevitable. 

Before the 16-game NFL season

The NFL formed in 1920 and at the time, the league’s teams didn’t play a set schedule or number of games. Some of the league’s teams even competed against non-NFL teams in competitive games. It wasn’t until 1933 that the NFL finally adopted a championship game. Prior to the inaugural championship game, the NFL’s league champion was voted on by team owners. It was more akin to the way college football crowned a national champion prior to the BCS.

By the late 1930s, teams had adopted a 12-game schedule and the season ended with a championship game. In 1967, the rival NFL and AFL played the first-ever Super Bowl. It pitted the winners of each league in a winner-take-all game.

It took 11 years, however, for the NFL to sanction its current 16-game season. Between 1961 and 1977, the NFL’s teams played 14 games in the regular season. All 14 games were spread out over the course of 14 weeks making the NFL season quite short. 

Adopting the 16-game season

In 1978, the NFL adopted the 16-game regular season that has prevailed ever since. The league had 28 teams during the 1978 season, which is four fewer teams than the NFL has presently. From 1978 to 1989, the NFL regular season took place over the course of four months. However, the 1990 season saw the league use the bye week to give NFL teams a week off during the regular season. It also extended the NFL season by an additional week. The 1993 season saw the NFL allow teams to have two bye weeks in a season as it experimented with resting players and teams.

The 16-game season has been used for over 40 years. Its days may be numbered, however. The league’s current owners are pushing for 18-games which would extend the regular season to around 20 weeks. There are several reasons for the extension of the league’s number of games. The most prominent reason is financial as owners and the league can make more money thanks to the added games. 

In addition, more games would see off any rival leagues from forming. In 2018, the Alliance of American Football debuted before imploding halfway through the season. In 2020, the XFL will return to be a thorn in the side the NFL. Its arrival will see spring football played and the XFL, like the AAF, is seen as a threat. 

The NFL 16-game season has lasted the test of time but as everything, it looks likely to evolve. It may not be too long until more games are added to the schedule.

nfl 16-game season

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