ARIZONA CARDINALS

NFL owners approve 17-game season, Cardinals to play Browns in 2021

Mar 30, 2021, 12:59 PM
Quarterbacks Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns and Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals...
Quarterbacks Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns and Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals exchange jerseys following the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Browns 38-24. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The NFL is increasing the regular season to 17 games and reducing the preseason to three games to generate additional revenue for America’s most popular sport.

Team owners on Tuesday approved the 17th game as expected, marking the first time in 43 years the regular season has been increased. It went from 14 to 16 games in 1978.

Each extra NFL game will be an interconference matchup based on where teams finished in the previous season. AFC teams will be hosting the 17th game in 2021. Beyond next season, the league plans for some of the extra games to be at international sites.

The Arizona Cardinals will take on the Cleveland Browns in the extra game of the season, having both finished third in their respective divisions.

The two last squared off in 2019 when the Cardinals beat the Browns, 38-24, in Arizona. The last time the Cardinals played in Cleveland was in 2015, which resulted in a 34-20 Arizona victory.

The Super Bowl now will move back a week to Feb. 13, which places it directly in the middle of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Coincidentally, NBC has the broadcast rights to both.

“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “The CBA with the players and the recently completed media agreements provide the foundation for us to enhance the quality of the NFL experience for our fans. And one of the benefits of each team playing 17 regular-season games is the ability for us to continue to grow our game around the world.”

This year, the AFC East will host the NFC East in Week 17, with Washington at Buffalo, the New York Giants at Miami, Dallas at New England and Philadelphia at the New York Jets.

The NFC West teams will visit AFC North clubs, with Seattle at Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore, Arizona at Cleveland and San Francisco at Cincinnati.

NFC South members go to the AFC South, so New Orleans will be at Tennessee, Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay at Indianapolis, Carolina at Houston and Atlanta at Jacksonville.

For NFC North clubs, Green Bay goes to Kansas City for a juicy matchup of Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, while Chicago is at Las Vegas, Minnesota at the Los Angeles Chargers and Detroit at Denver.

The full schedule will be released in May, but the Buccaneers will kick off the season on Thursday, Sept. 9. The regular season will end Jan. 9.

The Super Bowl will be played in Los Angeles at SoFi Stadium..

“We have been in constant communication with our partners about this change, and we’re excited for the unprecedented opportunity of presenting the American audience with the two biggest events in media simultaneously,” NBC said in a statement.

“We will promote the Super Bowl during the first week of the Winter Olympics, and we’ll promote the second week of the Winter Olympics during the Super Bowl. It’s a win for us, our partners, advertisers, and certainly viewers.”

Last season, the league added two playoff teams to increase the number of postseason games to pandemic-stressed season.

Arizona Cardinals

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries for a touchdown in front of New Orleans Sai...
Tyler Drake

Same but different: Cardinals face similar test as Week 1 in Cook, Vikings

Much like the Tennessee Titans, the Minnesota Vikings present a stout running game, two impressive receivers and a capable quarterback.
22 hours ago
General manager Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals waves to fans before the NFL game against the P...
Kevin Zimmerman

GM: Cards want to re-sign Chandler Jones; P2 departure was ‘business decision’

Chandler Jones tossed imaginary cash to celebrate a sack, then searched for more money in his general manager's pockets last Sunday.
22 hours ago
Rodney Hudson #61 of the Arizona Cardinals in the huddle during the game against the Tennessee Tita...
Tyler Drake

Rodney Hudson already an integral part of Cardinals’ offensive success

The Arizona Cardinals' throttling of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday spoke volumes to the impact center Rodney Hudson has on the offense.
22 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Devon Kennard runs during a pass rushing drill during NFL foot...
Arizona Sports

Vikings-Cardinals injury report: LB Devon Kennard ruled out

The Cardinals' injury report ahead of a Week 2 showdown with the Vikings included right tackle Kelvin Beachum not practicing.
22 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals fans cheer during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City...
Arizona Sports

Reminders for fans attending Cardinals’ home opener vs. Vikings

With a full house expected, the Cardinals reminded fans of the rules in place for the game on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. against the Vikings.
22 hours ago
The Arizona Cardinals run onto the field for the NFL game against the New England Patriots at the U...
Dan Bickley

Will Red Sea reignite as fans sell out Cardinals’ home opener?

State Farm Stadium was eerily quiet in 2020, when a pandemic interrupted a streak of 144 consecutive sellouts. A new era begins Sunday.
2 days ago
NFL owners approve 17-game season, Cardinals to play Browns in 2021