The 17-game NFL season is something that a lot of players are already complaining about, so the notion of an 18-game season surely will be met with anger and concern. But that rumor was floated out there last week by NFL reporter Benjamin Allbright, who appeared on 101 ESPN St. Louis and said “[The NFL] wants to get to 18 games soon.” Allbright also floated the possibility that the NFL would expand to 36 teams, which means four new teams would be added to the league.
— 101 ESPN St. Louis (@101espn) November 4, 2021
Allbright was quick to note that this was an idea that was floated and tabled, and wouldn’t happen overnight even if it did happen, but it certainly got people talking.
NFL insider Ian Rapoport stopped by The Pat McAfee Show on Thursday and the topic was broached about how possible it might be for the league to add four expansion teams (presumably in London, Toronto, San Antonio, and St. Louis) and then expand the schedule to an 18-game season. Rapoport says that he’s heard nothing to suggest expansion is happening anytime soon, but given how much money is out there to be made on NFL games, there’s always a chance an 18-game season could happen.
“I haven’t heard anything about expansion,” said Rapoport. “I don’t see it happening anytime soon.”
“Could they get to 18 games eventually? Possibly. There’s so much money out there and people like money. I will stick to what I said before, which is I don’t see it happening anytime soon. I think the Players’ Association will fight it until the money gets so overwhelming that everyone has no choice but to say, alright, just give me all the money.”
It does seem ridiculous to think that the league would be able to get to 18 games soon given how hard it had to push to make a 17-game season happen (and the pushback is still ongoing). However, it makes a lot of sense to think that the league will eventually want to expand and when that happens, it’s probably only a matter of time before the season does too