Great question, Rob. I appreciate your creativity. No, the promotion/relegation concept has not been discussed at the league level. I know that it has been utilized in the European soccer leagues for years. I don’t follow soccer that closely, but I know that the top teams in Europe recently tried to establish a Super League in order to subvert promotion/relegation. I just don’t see that there would be any support for this concept in the NFL. I wonder what Ted Lasso would think about having relegation in the NFL, given his football and soccer background?
Sawyer from Simpsonville, SC
Is the league going to decide which home game the Packers give up in their ninth-home-game season to play overseas, or does Green Bay have some say? For example, let’s say the NFC is hosting first instead of the AFC, and the Chiefs were coming to Lambeau. I’d imagine the Packers would rather keep that one stateside and give up the WFT home game to go overseas. Or if the NFL was picking, they might want Packers, Bears or Vikings moved because of the rivalry.
Thanks for bringing this issue up, Sawyer. As I’ve discussed here in the past, growth of the game internationally is a high priority for the league. In order to have a larger inventory of international games, starting in 2022, the league will require teams to give up home games to play internationally. It will be done by division over an eight-year period. So, for instance, in 2022 the NFC will have nine home games and the league could determine that the four NFC North teams would each give up a home game to play in an international game. The thought with doing it by division is that international trips can be taxing, and it is competitively equitable since every team in the division will have an international game. With regard to which home game teams will give up, that will be up to the team, as it is now (although the league may provide some input). Most teams are reluctant to play a division game internationally since those games are so important and you would be giving up the home-field advantage.
Niels from Barbados
Dear Mr. Murphy, I want to point you to a news story about a spit test for concussions that ran recently: Concussion in sport: Saliva test is 94% accurate in rugby union trial. The text says that this test could be several years away from being usable as a rapid test on the sidelines. I would encourage the NFL to throw some money at speeding up this development. I could see so many ways this would be an advantage both for the game and for the NFL as a business. Do you agree?
Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Niels. (We don’t get many questions from fans in Barbados). I was not aware of a spit test. As you know, concussions (and the impact they have on our players) are an important issue for the league and the future of the game. I agree that it would be smart for the NFL to invest in technology that would be able to determine quickly and accurately whether a player has suffered a concussion. Interestingly, TitletownTech has invested in Oculogica, a company that has developed the only FDA-authorized test that objectively diagnoses a concussion through ocular nerve function measurement. Its device is called the EyeBOX.
Lori from De Pere, WI
When will the NFL release the schedule? Isn’t it usually right after the draft?
You’re right, Lori, the NFL schedule is usually released around the time of the Draft, often a week or two before. This year’s release will be a little later – on May 12. The league often talks about its tent-pole events, such as the Super Bowl and the draft. The league would like to turn the schedule release into a tent-pole event, and separating the release from the draft will make it more of a separate event. Another new tent-pole event this year will be the unified start of training camp. With the move to 17 regular-season games and a change in when the preseason games will be played, there is an opportunity for 28 teams (all teams except for those playing in the Hall of Fame game and the NFL Kickoff game – another tent-pole event) to all start training camp on the same day. This will provide tremendous publicity for the league and all teams as training camps get started.