Idea for NFL’s 17th Game

First, let me start by saying that my former classmate Brian came up with the idea I’m about to share (he said I could post it), and I think it’s brilliant.  The NFL is working on plans to extend the regular season by 1-2 games.  If they do add one game, Brian’s idea is for it to be a cross-conference regional rivalry game, with the two opponents playing and alternating home and away each year.  Here is his list of matchups:

  • Redskins vs. Ravens (Maryland/DC)
  • Cowboys vs. Texans (Texas)
  • Giants vs. Jets (New York)
  • Steelers vs. Eagles (Pennsylvania)
  • Chiefs vs. Rams (Missouri)
  • Raiders vs. 49ers (California Bay Area)
  • Buccaneers vs. Dolphins (South Florida)
  • Tennessee vs. Carolina (The Appalachians)
  • Jacksonville vs. Atlanta (Southeast – The Pro Cocktail Party?)
  • Arizona vs. San Diego (Southwest)
  • Chicago vs. Indianapolis (Midwest #1)
  • Cleveland vs. Detroit (Midwest #2 and right across the lake from each other)
  • Buffalo vs. GB (NFL’s Small Market/Snow Showdown)
  • Seattle vs. Denver (Former AFC West rivals)

This list of pairs leaves Minnesota, New Orleans, Cincinnati and New England, so the system is not perfect, but maybe some adjustments could be made (leave your own ideas in the comments…hint, hint).  You have to believe that this “rivalry” game would generate a lot of fan and media interest, the NFL’s version of interleague play if you will.  They could even play each other every year on a designated “AFC/NFC Rivalry Week” to really capitalize on it…the ratings would be huge!

I’m going to ask Brian to leave some more comments on the idea.  It really has a lot of potential, so hopefully the NFL will read this and use his idea!

5 thoughts on “Idea for NFL’s 17th Game

  • October 24, 2008 at 4:06 am

    That is a great idea. Works in European soccer, MLB, MiLB, regional hockey and on the collegiate level why not the NFL.

    Could it be swapped for the traditional Thanksgiving day lineup to capitalize on people staying close to home?

    Would rather watch this lineup than the Pro Bowl.

    Could swap Minnesota w/ Buffalo v. New England. Cincinnati v. Cleavland…and send the Lions and Saints to Canada!

    Or just let the fans vote on the match-ups, they’re already fanatics over fantasy stuff, why not let them make the games.

  • October 24, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    The other factor that Russ didn’t mention is that the major issue with the 17th game is that it ruins the current symmetry of the schedule. By adding to a matchup that is the same annually, and alternates home and away each year, you don’t have to toss out the old system, and you are at least maintaining some semblance of symmetry/fairness.

    Plus, familiarity breeds contempt, and who doesn’t love a good rivalry? Texans-Cowboys and Redskins-Ravens don’t really get the blood boiling every preseason, but it sure would if they were on the regular season schedule every year. Throw in the NFL’s marketing machine getting behind an annual “Rivalry Week”, and you’d have a media and marketing bonanza…

  • October 24, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    The only issue will be years when the NFL’s current scheduling system causes duplicates of the matchups. For example, the Steelers and Eagles played this year because the NFC East faces the AFC North this season. This would mean those teams play each other twice though not a divisional game. Not sure if that would be viewed as a problem by the NFL. Still a good idea.

  • October 24, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    I thought about that, but how bad would it be in the Jets/Giants, Eagles/Steelers, etc. played twice a season once in a while? I don’t think it would have much impact on the “Rivalry Week” idea as a whole.

  • October 26, 2008 at 2:52 am

    I think it would be better if teams like the Eagles/Steelers, Jets/Giants, etc played twice a season. Those are very intense rivalries and the fans might enjoy it better if their team won the “season series” over the other team (similar to baseball).

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