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NFL makes 17-game regular season, and shortened preseason, official

The NFL season just got longer as owners approved the 17-game regular season schedule Tuesday.

NFL: Super Bowl LV-Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Some would consider this news coming from the “not breaking” news desk. Everyone who has been paying attention knew the NFL owners would approve the proposed 17-game regular season schedule, and that is exactly what happened on Tuesday.

There are some key talking points to this expanded schedule. First, the season will have a 17th game, obviously, but also an abridged preseason, only three games for 30 of the 32 NFL teams. For the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys they will have four preseason games thanks to the annual Hall of Fame game.

Also noteworthy is how there will be a week off after the preseason before the regular season officially kicks off.

Sports illustrated Albert Breer said this in his article MMQB article:

As part of this restructure, the NFL calendar will simply expand a week. Camp will open around the same time it normally does, the Hall of Fame game will still be five weeks from the Thursday night opener, and the first full slate of preseason games will be four weeks out from Week 1. The difference? A two-week gap between the final preseason weekend, and Week 1. So there will be no games leading into Labor Day weekend.

As for the official matchups for the 17th regular season game, Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network delivers the news based on division. The AFC North will host the NFC West in 2021.

As expected, the Steelers will host the Seattle Seahawks at Heinz Field this season, and in 2022 the AFC will be the visiting team as they hit the road in this 17th game format. The NFL schedule isn’t expected to be released until mid-to-late May, so until then we won’t know just when these matchups will take place.

In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the rest of Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.