CLEVELAND, Ohio — Are you ready for more football?
NFL owners voted to approve expansion of the regular season from 16 games to 17 beginning with the 2021 season during the virtual Annual Meeting on Tuesday, while reducing the number of preseason games from four to three.
The 17th games of the season are interconference matchups based on divisional standings, with the AFC getting the extra home this year, and the NFC getting it next year. This season, the AFC North faces the NFC West, meaning the third-place Browns will host the third-place Cardinals, who finished 8-8 in 2020 and missed the playoffs.
The Cardinals this year will feature three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, whom the Browns pursued in free agency.
It’s the first expansion of the regular season in 43 years, since it increased from 14 to 16 games in 1978.
“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a release. “The CBA with the players and the recently completed media agreements provide the foundation for us to enhance the quality of the NFL experience for our fans. And one of the benefits of each team playing 17 regular-season games is the ability for us to continue to grow our game around the world.”
Under the new formula, every team plays 17 regular-season games with one bye week. Clubs will host 10 games overall – either nine regular-season games and one preseason game or eight regular-season games and two preseason games.
Browns playoffs shirts, hats for sale: Here’s where Cleveland Browns fans can order shirts and hats celebrating the team qualifying for the 2020 NFL playoffs.
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