NFL owners have been pushing for more games on the calendar for years due to the increase in revenue it would provide. Negotiations with the NFLPA finally opened the door for the money-making decision and the league is getting close to a finalized plan.
The annual December owners’ meeting is underway and while a vote did not take place, the league created a resolution for how a 17-game regular season schedule will look. There have been reports a vote on this could take place next month.
The 17th game on each team’s schedule would be an inter-conference matchup (NFC vs. AFC) based on divisional standings from the preceding season and on a rotating divisional basis. That would mean, the first place team in an AFC division would play the first place team in an NFC division, and the division that would be would rotate. Hypothetically, that could mean the NFC East places the AFC East one year, the AFC North the next year, the AFC South the year after, and finally the AFC West before rotating back around.
The NFL does not released the next season’s schedule until April, but the list of opponents a team will face is based off a formula from the preceding year’s standings. A team plays six games against its division, four games against a rotating division in the conference, one game against the team in the same standings position in the remaining two divisions in the conference, and then the four teams of a division in the opposing conference.