The NFL is in a league of its own for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is because there are so few games. How many games are there in the NFL season?
Despite having so few games, the NFL still rakes in money. The league made over $14 million in revenue in 2019, topping all other sports leagues worldwide. The average revenue per game exceeded $52,000.
The MLB has a 162-game schedule in the regular season. Both the NBA and NHL play 82 games before the playoffs. MLS plays 34 games in the regular season.
How many games are in the NFL? Will the NFL add more games in the future?
This article will explain everything you need to know about the length of the NFL season.
NFL Season Schedule: How many games?
The NFL regular season consists of 272 games across 18 weeks, from September until January. All 32 teams play a 17-game schedule with a designated bye week. The odd number of games means some teams play nine home games and eight road games while the rest play nine road games and eight home games.
The NFL expanded the regular season to 17 games in 2021 after previously playing 16 games in the regular season. This was the first schedule adjustment since 1978 when the league went from 14 to 16 games.
The reasoning behind extending the regular season likely comes down to money. The NFL essentially traded away a preseason game for an additional regular-season game. Each team now plays three preseason games and 17 regular-season games instead of four preseason games and 16 regular-season games.
There is a lot more revenue generated for regular season games since either is more interest from the fans, generating more revenue through TV deals, ticket sales, etc.
When does the NFL season begin?
Anticipation for the NFL heats up in July when teams open training camp. After several weeks of practice, teams open up a three-game preseason schedule. The regular season schedule begins in early September, concluding in early January.
What is the first game of the season?
The Hall of Fame Game traditionally kicks off the NFL preseason in Canton, Ohio. The Hall of Fame Game showcases two teams the weekend before the early August Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The NFL regular season typically starts on a Thursday in early September. The defending Super Bowl champions always host the season’s first game in a nationally televised event.
When does the NFL season end?
The regular season concludes in early January, making way for the playoffs. After both conferences crown a champion, the conference champions meet each other for the Super Bowl crown in early February.
What is the NFL playoff format?
The NFL playoff format is all single-elimination. The NFL expanded its postseason to include 14 games in 2022. Wild Card teams have the opportunity to play in a maximum of four playoff games.
The top-seeded team from both conferences, determined by record, gets a first-round bye. The remaining six teams from both conferences play the Wild Card round. The higher-seeded team always hosts up until the Super Bowl.
How many games are in the NFL season?
Teams that make it to the Super Bowl play as many as 24 games in one season — three preseason games, 17 regular season games, and up to four postseason games (wildcard round, division, conference, and Super Bowl).
Each team plays a 17-game regular season schedule and three preseason games. The regular season runs 18 weeks, starting in early September and ending in early January.
After the regular season, the qualifying teams compete in the playoffs, with the conference champions playing the Super Bowl on the second Sunday of February.
How does the 17-game schedule work?
All 32 teams play 17 games with one bye week. Half of the teams will play nine home games and eight away games, while the other half will play nine away games and eight home games. Teams that have only eight home games also host two of three preseason games. The following season the schedule will flip.
When are bye weeks in the NFL?
Each team has a bye week worked into the schedule. That bye week is between week six and week 14. Bye weeks can include as many as six teams getting a scheduled week off from games for one week of the season.
Why is the NFL season so short?
The NFL season is so short, mainly for player safety. With so much heavy hitting, having more games would further jeopardize player safety. Recent diagnoses of CTE have only backed this up.
With just one game a week, the schedule allows for a higher concentration on each and every game from team and league personnel. This means that attendance is more steady, and the overall production is high quality.
Who hosts the Super Bowl?
The 2023 Super Bowl will be played at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
The location of the Super Bowl is typically a neutral venue. The site of each Super Bowl is chosen years in advance. Ironically, the winners of the Super Bowl in 2021 and 2022, the Tampa Bay Buccanneers and the Los Angeles Rams, hosted the game in their own stadiums.
NFL season length compared to college football and the Canadian Football League
NFL has a longer season than college. The NCAA allows its teams to play a 12-game regular season with no more than three postseason games. The college season is also drawn out from late August until January because there are several weeks between the end of the regular season and the final postseason games.
CFL has a longer regular season, which lasts 21 weeks. In those 21 weeks, each team plays an 18-game schedule with three bye weeks. The CFL kicks off early June and concludes with the Grey Cup in November.
Will the NFL add more games?
Considering it took 43 years to go from 16 games to 17 games, it is unlikely that the NFL will increase the 17-game schedule anytime soon. One motivation to add a game might be to get back to even numbers and a balanced schedule. Nothing has been openly discussed altering the current 17-game regular season.
NFL Fun Facts
1.) The Chicago Bears have the most wins, 783, and ties, 42, in NFL history.
2.) The only invincible team in NFL history was the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Under head coach Don Shula, the Dolphins went 14-0 in the regular season before three playoff wins for the Super Bowl crown.
3.) The 2007 New England Patriots were nearly unbeatable. They went 16-0 in the regular season, but their perfect record was scuffed in the Super Bowl as they lost 17-14 to the New York Giants.
4.) The Detroit Lions are the only team to have two winless seasons. The Lions went 0-11 in 1942 and 0-16 in 2008.
5.) In 1982, Washington Redskins placekicker Mark Moseley won NFL MVP, hitting 20 of 21 field goals in the shortened nine-game season. Moseley narrowly edged out San Diego Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts with 35 votes to 33.
6.) Tickets to the first Super Bowl cost about $12 in 1967. In 2022, the cheapest ticket to Super Bowl LVI was over $5,000.
7.) Brett Favre’s first completion was to himself. The Hall of Fame quarterback had his pass attempt deflected before catching it and getting tackled for a loss in 1992.
By Nathan Dunn
Nathan writes about the NFL and soccer from his home in Kansas City, Missouri.
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