NFL owners approve 17- game regular season for 2021

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarter back Tom Brady (12) hands the Lombardi Trophy to Bucs nose tackle Vita Vea (50) while they celebrate the team’s 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Feb.7 in Tampa.

DOUGLAS R.CLIFFORD/TAMPA BAYTIMES/TNS

BY PAT LEONARD
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/TNS

It’s official: The NFL has expanded its regular season to 17 games.

The league’s owners approved the one-game increase on the first day of their virtual meetings on Tuesday, March 30, reducing the pre-season from four games to three, as well.

The 17th game will pit teams from opposing conferences against each other based on their finish in the division the previous season, with the AFC hosting in 2021.

The Giants, therefore, will visit the Miami Dolphins as the second-place finishers in the NFC East and AFC East, respectively.

“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “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.”

International games

The collective bargaining agreement struck in March 2020 allowed the league and the players’ union to add a 17th game to the regular season beginning in 2021. March 30 marked the official vote to make that happen.

The league’s expanded schedule also ensures that beginning in 2022, all 32 franchises will play an international game at least once every eight years.

The scheduling of up to four neutral-site games per year outside the United States will focus initially on Canada, Europe, Mexico, South America and the United Kingdom.

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