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Roger Goodell eyes moving Super Bowl date, 18-game season, international expansion and more

SportsRoger Goodell eyes moving Super Bowl date, 18-game season, international expansion and more

The NFL could be undergoing some major changes in the near future and one of those changes could involve the date of the Super Bowl.  

During an interview with Pat McAfee on Friday, Goodell was asked if the NFL would look to expand the regular season again after adding a 17th game in 2021 and the NFL commissioner gave an interesting response. Goodell said that he would love to see the league eventually get to 18 games, which would set the stage for the Super Bowl to be moved to a holiday weekend. 

If the NFL added one more game to the schedule, the league would play 18 regular-season games and two preseason games. 

“If we got to 18 and 2, that’s not an unreasonable thing,” Goodell said. “The other thing it does, [Super Bowl Sunday] ends on up Presidents’ Day weekend, which is a three-day weekend, which makes it Sunday night and then you have Monday off.”

If the NFL moved to an 18-game schedule, that would push the Super Bowl from the second Sunday in February to the third Sunday in February, and as Goodell notes, that would put the game on Presidents’ Day weekend, which is a move that most fans would probably love. NFL fans have been clamoring for years to get the Monday after the Super Bowl changed to a national holiday, but under this plan, nothing would have to change since there’s already a national holiday in place. 

Of course, if this does happen, it will likely come at some point a few years down the road at the earliest. 

“I think we’re good at 17 [games] now, but we’re looking at how we continue,” Goodell said. “I’m not a fan of the preseason. I don’t think we need preseason anymore.”

Although Goodell isn’t a fan of the preseason, he didn’t make it sound like he was going to try and eliminate it. 

Goodell has done several interviews since arriving in Detroit for the 2024 NFL Draft and another topic he touched on was international expansion. During a Thursday interview with ESPN, Goodell said that the league could be playing as many as 16 international games per season at some point in the next decade. 

“I honestly think we’ll be playing 16 games internationally if you go 10 years out,” Goodell said, via the AP. “I think we’ll try to get to eight or nine in the next couple years.”

For the 2024 season, the NFL will be playing five games abroad with three in London, one in Germany, plus the league’s first-ever game in Brazil. The NFL will also be adding Spain to the rotation in 2025 and the league is also planning on making a return to Mexico City, so the number of international locations will be shooting up soon. 

“The reaction we’re getting from the fans every time we play in a new market is incredible, so we’ll continue to play in London, we’ll continue to play in Germany and I hope continue to play in Brazil,” Goodell said. “We’ll be back in Mexico, but there are a lot of other markets that — obviously, we’re going to go to Spain next year, we’ve already planned that — but there are a lot of markets that want us to play there and we’re actively looking at all those, exploring that.”

Although the NFL has big goals for international expansion, Goodell didn’t sound so confident about putting a team in another country. 

“Will a franchise ever happen or a division? Maybe. But that’s beyond 10 years,” Goodell said. 

One other key topic that Goodell talked about was the proliferation of streaming. During the 2023 season, the NFL exclusively streamed a playoff game for the first time and that sounds like something the league will continue to do going forward. 

“As you know, we go for the broadest possible distribution we can. We want to make our games available to the widest audience we possibly can,” Goodell said. “But also I think the streaming platforms give us more interaction. There are more opportunities to do alternative broadcasts. There’s more interaction for the fans if they want that interaction.”

Last year’s playoff game was on Peacock, and this year, the NFL will be putting a playoff game on Amazon, a partner that the league has been thrilled with so far. 

“So we’ve been incredibly happy with our Thursday night package on Amazon Prime,” Goodell said. “YouTube had our Sunday Ticket this year. Again, tremendous growth, and I think the fans really enjoyed it. And in each of those platforms, our average age of our audience went down eight to 10 years. So that’s where a lot of people are that we need to reach, and that’s why we’re investing in it.”

The NFL’s first streaming exclusive game of the 2024 season will come in Week 1 when Peacock serves as the exclusive provider for the league’s game in Brazil, which will see the Eagles serving as the home team against the Packers. Every Thursday night game is also exclusively streamed on Amazon, so it’s pretty much a guarantee that streaming is here to stay. 

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