For the first time in history, the NFL will have an 18-week regular season in 2021. Each team will play 17 regular-season games with one bye, plus three preseason games.
Before we lay out the can’t-miss games of the year and what the holidays and prime-time games will look like, let’s see what is new and old in this year’s schedule.
For the first time in over a decade, fans will not be treated to an opening-week “Monday Night Football” doubleheader. Monday night doubleheaders should be played every week of the season. Get rid of the Thursday night games and give fans Monday night doubleheaders. Thursday night games have been awful products for years. The players cannot possibly be ready physically or mentally on Thursday after playing just four days earlier. We know football is punishing on players’ bodies, and the Thursday night games lack intensity and preparation. NFL teams usually get Monday and Tuesday off after Sunday games to let their bodies heal and give coaches time to prepare for the upcoming game. Coaches don’t have enough time to get a game plan together, install it at practice, travel to the game site and have their teams ready to play Thursday night. The NFL claims to worry about players’ safety. If true, give teams a full week to prepare before making them play again. It will make the game safer, more exciting and more enjoyable.
I love the idea of another week of the NFL. Who doesn’t? I am all for a Week 18, but how about sticking with 16 games? Give every team two byes and we still get 18 weeks of football. It will keep teams fresher down the stretch and give teams a week off in each half of the season. It probably leads to fresher players and fewer injuries and even more fantastic playoff games.