17 game NFL schedule: Team’s should play on neutral ground
By Brian Miller
Miami Dolphins fans will get another chance to watch a Sunday football with the 17 game schedule but the NFL missed an opportunity.
The additional game each year will see each team in the AFC face off against a division in the NFC. This year, the Dolphins will host the New York Giants, and next year, Miami will play away at an NFC East stadium. It may seem like an easy solution but in reality, the NFL missed an opportunity.
Many fans don’t like international games but they are here to stay and they will likely continue to expand. With four games in the U.K. and potentially one or two more in Mexico, the NFL is expanding it’s global reach and we have to imagine that in the future, those games could extend to Germany, Italy, and maybe someday, Japan.
No, it’s never ideal for a team to lose a home game and the NFL has made it clear that any team willing to give up a home game will be able to apply to host a Super Bowl. The Dolphins, of course, will always be willing to do just that because they love hosting the big game.
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What the NFL should be doing is looking at the extra game as an international game or at the very least, a game that could be spread out over the country until this COVID mess is gone or until games can be scheduled overseas.
There are 16 games on a non-bye Sunday and 17 weeks but it would be very easy to set up the schedule so that international games are played between week 3 and week 12 with two games possibly played on a weekend. This eliminates teams having to give up a home game and it eliminates the question of fairness when certain teams don’t play games overseas.
If a game isn’t available to play overseas, why not branch out around the NFL a bit more? Say the Miami Dolphins play in San Antonio, Texas against the Giants. Two teams out of the market that can spice up a Sunday playing out of town. Or still, make it regional with the Dolphins playing in Orlando against the Giants or Miami traveling to a stadium in St. Louis. There are plenty of stadiums across the U.S. that can hold an NFL game that currently does not have an NFL team.
Having that 17th game a road game for every team to some degree isn’t just fair play but it would extend the brand of the NFL and give fans who are not in NFL markets, an opportunity to watch teams play live on Sundays that they normally may not get to watch otherwise.
I’m sure the 17th game will work out just fine for the league and the money they get from television contracts but it seems that they had an opportunity to extend the brand. Extend the opportunity for fans around the U.S. at a minimum to get something more. Maybe someday that might be the case but at least, we can all enjoy another Sunday of football that we didn’t have last year.
The NFL schedule will be released this Wednesday at 8:00 for the upcoming season.