It’s the NFL Off-Season does that mean the drama is over for a few months? Hardly! Let’s take a look at the sneaky big upcoming off-season story-lines.
As the dust starts to settle on the 2019 NFL season everyone’s looking forward to the draft, free-agency and the slow progression of the off-season until the 2020 season jumps into action late summertime.
Here at Ninety-Nine Yards we take a look forward at what else will be happening over the next few months that may not be on everyone’s radar.
The current CBA (collective bargaining agreement) expires at the end of the 2020 Season. Meaning this Off-Season is the last time those involved will be able to give it their full attention without-football to get in the way. An agreement between “the league”, ie. the NFL and it’s 32 team owners and the players association, NFLPA, is needed to be sorted before the start of the 2021 season to avoid a costly lock-out.
Up until recently the CBAs were relatively straight forward. How would the NFL’s ever increasing wealth be split between the owners and the players? This next CBA figures to be anything but straight forward because there’s much more than money on the table this time.
A longer season?
It’s now almost certain that the league will push for a 17 game regular season. The added potential value an extra game will bring will have them licking their greedy financial lips. Will the players want it? 16 games, plus up to 4 more in the playoffs is a lot of games already. Adding to that will add to the “wear and tear” on players and inevitably increase the injury risk also. But will they put those fears aside for a bigger piece of a bigger pie?
If so how would this work and where would this be played? Limit the pre-season, maybe an extra bye week? All of this will be discussed in the coming months.
We already know three of the four games: the Jags will play two home games at their “home from home” Wembley Stadium. Thanks to the Falcons owner slipping in a pre-Superbowl interview we also know Atlanta will host the Broncos as one of the two games at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
What we don’t know is who’ll play in the other London game? It would seem the “if you’re getting a Superbowl or relocating you need to play a game in London” dues have been paid. So because of that the best we can do is speculate who’ll play in the final game to be announced.
It’s a big year for the NFL’s travels to London. It’s the last year of the agreement to have two games at Wembley. Plus it is the last year of the Jags agreement to play every year – their two games there this year will shape how this relationship moves forward.
The ever swirling rumors regarding a potential London Franchise will no doubt kick into overdrive if the Jags make a success of their two game stand.
Expect the remaining teams to be announced before the regular season schedule is released in April. Followed by the unfortunate if inevitable annual struggle to get tickets once they’re released.
On The Move
Come September three teams will call new Stadiums their home, the Raiders in their new Vegas home the Allegiant Stadium. As well as the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams in the SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California.
It’s the first time in nearly 20 years that three teams will play in new stadiums – the Texans, Patriots, Lions and Seahawks all opened new stadiums back in 2002.
Teams relocating isn’t new, it’s been happening for nearly 100 years – the Decatur Staleys moved to Chicago back in 1921 (they’re now known as the Bears). But throughout its history the NFL has violently steered clear of sports betting and therefore Vegas. This wasn’t just an NFL thing. Up until 2018 sports betting and gambling of most sorts has been prohibited throughout America. But the times they are a changing and numerous states are looking to loosen their gambling restrictions.
Pressure is on the Raiders to make a success out of their move to Nevada. They’ll no doubt be a hotspot for visiting fans who’ll add to the cities ever growing visitor numbers. Which stood at 48 million at last count in 2018.
Meanwhile in the LA Market
Head 280 miles South-West of Las Vegas Boulevard and you’ll come across the $4.9 Billion SoFi Stadium. Where the Rams and Chargers will battle it out with the Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Ducks, Dodgers and Angels (I could go on…) to be the apple of the LA sporting eye.
Both teams have played in LA before; the Chargers their inaugural 1960 season before their move to San Diego and the Rams from 1946-1994 until their 21 year stay in St. Louis.
The Rams moved back in 2016 and Chargers 2017. They’ll share the SoFi stadium and compete for attention in the busy LA sports market.
There you have it. It’s the NFL Off-season but that in no way guarantees a quiet time or a lack of story-lines. Whatever time of year, there’s always plenty of drama, – Only in the NFL.
Featured Image: The NFL is in the off-season, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to focus on image from Pride of Detroit.com