With all the debate about expanding the NFL to 18 games, I wondered why no one has considered the possibility of a 17 game schedule.
I can already hear the critics: How would this work? Who would get the extra home game?
I'm glad you asked.
The solution is simple: Every team will play one division opponent a third time in a neutral city. How about the 49ers vs. Cardinals from Los Angeles? Washington vs. Dallas from Little Rock? San Diego vs Denver from Portland, OR or Portland, ME for that matter? The Falcons vs. Saints in Birmingham? Packers and Bears from South Bend, IN?
Just like the current NFL scheduling format, teams would alternate between division opponents each year. One year San Francisco would play Arizona a third time in a neutral city. The following year the 49ers would play Seattle and the year after that, St. Louis.
This schedule would enable teams to maintain their 8 game home schedule and allow other cities in the U.S. and abroad to enjoy NFL Football.
Additionally, it would temporarily (perhaps permanently) solved the NFL's desire to bring professional football back to Los Angeles as the California city could host multiple neutral site games.