NFL owners have approved the first expansion of the regular season since it went from 14 games to 16 more than 40 years ago. In a long-expected decision, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday that the regular season has now been expanded to 17 games, with three preseason games instead of four, ESPN reports. The season will begin on Sept. 9 and will finish on Jan. 9 next year, with the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles pushed back a week, from Feb. 6 to Feb. 13, 2022.
The extra NFL games will be interconference matchups based on where each team finished the previous season, with AFC teams hosting the upcoming season's 17th games, the AP reports. The league says some future 17th games might be played overseas. Goodell described the new deal as a "monumental moment in NFL history" and added that plans to welcome back all fans at all stadiums are being discussed. "Football is not the same without fans, and we expect to have full stadiums in the upcoming season," he said. (Read more NFL stories.)