Roger Goodell sees 18-game schedule, Presidents' Day weekend Super Bowl in NFL's future

Fans could finally get their wish and have the day after the Super Bowl be a holiday

Fans who have pined to have the day after the Super Bowl declared a holiday may soon get their wish.

Appearing on "The Pat McAfee Show" on Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he sees a future with more international games, an 18-game regular-season schedule and a Super Bowl that falls on Presidents' Day weekend.

Goodell said that his 18-game plan, which would likely feature a second bye week, would see teams play two preseason games, one fewer than the three-game preseason schedule that began in 2021.

"I think we're good at 17 now," Goodell told McAfee. "But, listen, we're looking at how we continue. I'm not a fan of the preseason. ... But the reality is, I'd rather replace a preseason game with a regular-season game any day. That's just picking quality, right? If we get to 18 and 2, that's not an unreasonable thing."

This is just an idea for now, and nothing has been discussed with the NFL Players Association. Any such change to the schedule would need to be collectively bargained.

The NFL's 17-game regular-season schedule began in 2021 following CBA negotiations. (Photo by John Smolek/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The NFL's 17-game regular-season schedule began in 2021 following CBA negotiations. (Photo by John Smolek/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The NFL's current CBA expires in March 2030.

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry said the potential for an 18-game schedule down the line was factored into the thinking behind moving the NFL trade deadline back, which was approved by the NFL's owners in March.

Player feedback on Goodell's idea would be interesting. When the league expanded to the current 17-game schedule, there were a number of players who were opposed to the idea, including Aaron Rodgers.

“The fact that it even got in there when, the guys that I talked to around the league, every meeting that was had before these negotiations got amped up, nobody wanted 17 games,” Rodgers said in 2020. “A lot of us are wondering how the hell that even got into the conversation because nobody wanted it."

A second bye week could ease concerns regarding player safety, something that Rodgers brought up.

“It was told to us that the 17th game was to pay for the benefits we’re giving up in the new part of the CBA,” he said. “ … I am a traditionalist. Thirty-two teams, 16 games, it just sounds right to me. I don’t understand how maybe 16 games and two bye weeks didn’t get in the mix. That to me seems like a fair compromise because you’re still getting 18 weeks of football, but you’re not adding the extra stress."

Goodell would also like to see more NFL regular-season games played internationally. He said he envisions at least 16 games being played overseas per season, but not for at least a decade.

In 2023, three regular-season games were played in London, England and two took place in Frankfurt, Germany. The league is set to go back to England and Germany in 2024, while also adding a contest in São Paulo, Brazil during Week 1.

Saying he sees the NFL becoming a global sport, expanding internationally is an idea he's had, but Goodell doesn't see that as an immediate part of his vision.

"Will a franchise ever happen or a division?" Goodell said. "Maybe. I think that's beyond 10 years though."