Most anticipate the NFL owners moving the league to a 17-game schedule for the 2021 season, something that has been a bone of contention with the players for years. Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II appears to have admitted as much.
On Wednesday, NFL insider Chris Mortensen reported that negotiations between the NFLPA and league management council have started on a few topics. Among them is the new schedule, which the players association executive board anticipates will be implemented next week.
Today, Rooney spoke to some Steelers fans on a call. Apparently the schedule is not much of a valuable secret.
He told the group that he believes the 17-game schedule “will work out well.” Along with the addition of one more game to the regular season, the NFL is expected to reduce the preseason to three games starting this year.
Art Rooney II on a fan call about a 17-game schedule: “The 17 game schedule, I think, will work out well. This year will be the first year for it. We’ll get a chance to see how it goes. I think we’ll reduce the preseason by one game.”
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) March 25, 2021
Doors for a 17-game schedule opened last spring, when the NFLPA had one of the most contentious collective bargaining agreement votes in league history. Ultimately, 51.5-percent of the players voted to ratify the proposed CBA, a very slim majority, but enough to get it through. Stars like Aaron Rodgers were reportedly upset after the results came out, and there have been reports of some players regretting their votes to approve in the days after the fact. The CBA was seen as a huge win for the owners.
The vote gave the owners the option to expand the schedule. It did not happen in 2020, though it did move to the 14-team playoff model that was part of the same negotiations. Now it appears to be on imminent.
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