NFL owners approve 17-game schedule in 2021; Broncos to host Lions in extra game

·2 min read

Mar. 30—Rejoice, Broncos Country. More football is coming to Denver in 2021.

NFL owners on Tuesday approved the addition of a 17th regular-season game starting this year. The move, while expected, is historic given the NFL has played a 16-game schedule since 1978.

In addition to adding a regular-season game, the league shrank the preseason to games to three per team. The regular season begins Sept. 9 and continues through Jan. 9, with Super Bowl LVI being played Feb. 13.

The 17th game will be an interconference matchup with AFC and NFC teams facing opponents that finished in the same place in their respective division. The Broncos, who finished fourth in the AFC West in 2020, will face the Lions, who finished fourth in the NFC North. Denver, along with the rest of the AFC, will host the 17th game in 2021 with the NFC hosting in 2022.

"This is a monumental moment in NFL history," Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement Tuesday. "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."

While fans may be excited for more games and owners are excited for more money, not everyone is happy about the change — particularly the players.

"Seventeen games is complete BS," Broncos safety Kareem Jackson tweeted Monday. "No other way to put it."

Adding an extra game to an already physically demanding sport is not something many veteran players, such as 32-year-old Jackson, appreciate. But for rookies and younger players, it might be another opportunity to prove their worth.

Either way, this won't be the last change the NFL makes this offseason, with many veteran players and the NFLPA pushing for fewer offseason training camps after not having any last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NFL announced Tuesday teams could officially start OTAs on April 19, but dates for training camps after that have yet to be determined.

For now, though, the regular season is set. Here's a look at the Broncos' home and away schedule, with dates and times to be released later:

Home

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Detroit Lions

Cincinnati Bengals

Baltimore Ravens

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Football Team

New York Jets

Away

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Cleveland Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers

Dallas Cowboys

New York Giants

Jacksonville Jaguars

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