NFL Owners Vote to Expand Season to 17 Games Starting This Year

NFL officials have voted in favor of extending the regular season games to 17 in a move that will bring more money to the league, according to ESPN.

The preseason will now be shortened to three games instead of four. NFL officials say their players have, generally, suffered the most injuries during preseason games, so they are praising the decision.

“What we are actually doing is following the data and following the science to make sure that we are doing things [well] both from a health and safety standpoint as well as seeking to get better in every way,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.

As a result of the changes, the AFC and NFC teams will alternate every year between eight and nine home games. The AFC will now have nine this year.

Officials say the ninth game will consist of a cross-conference game based on each division’s standings from the year before, as well as the division schedule rotation from the two previous seasons. The full game schedule will be released before the summer.

The NFL Players Association agreed to the decision last year as part of their collective bargaining agreement. However, some NFL players are now blasting the decision on social media. New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara described the move as “dumb…as hell” on Twitter.

The players will now be paid over 18 weeks instead of 17, but their salaries will remain the same. This marks the first time the NFL season has chosen to add any games to the season since 1978, according to CBS Sports.