As many of us are aware, the annual owners' meeting in March included serious discussion on increasing the regular season schedule from 16 to 17 games. They plan on doing so by reducing the number of preseason games from four to three.
Regardless of the opinions from fans, writers, and players, it’s more than likely that the owners will agree to do so.
This would mark the first time in NFL history that the season would have an odd number of games—previously going from 12, to 14, to 16. So I got to thinking that this would be a perfect situation to give the fans and teams some type of legitimate benefit out of it.
I’ve always believed one of the few things the NFL has lacked in comparison to college football is rivalries.
Sure, rivalries exist in the NFL (and some very heated ones), but as a whole they are not nearly as intense or widespread as they are in college football, especially since the realignment, which moved some franchises into completely different divisions and conferences.
In college football, every team has a rival that they square off against year after year. Moreover, the majority of their rivalries are based on simple geography.
What the NFL lacks are the great intrastate or border-state rivalries that the NCAA has produced. Therefore, I thought that the 17th game would be the perfect situation for the NFL to create some.
My idea is that the NFL should use the 17th game (or the first, however they want to do it) for non-conference rivalry games, with the home team alternating every year. Thus, I’ve created what I believe would be the best matchups.
For the very select few that don’t seem to share any geographic or historic commonalities, well, tough luck; over time, after playing year in and year out, they would develop their own.
So without further ado, here are the matchups I believe would work best.