How an 18-game regular season impacts 49ers, rest of NFL

Having the Monday after the Super Bowl off? Count us in!
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Is the NFL trending toward an inevitable 18-game regular-season schedule? If so, what would the ramifications be?

NFL fans have long been begging for the Monday after the Super Bowl off. Many book it off as a vacation day, or some just call in sick.

But if your team wins, it's almost a guaranteed city-wide holiday anyway.

So, when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about it during an interview at the NFL Draft, via The Pat McAfee Show, lots of fans ears perked up:

It's almost like Goodell was running for the Oval Office based on this, but he does have millions of fans he needs to keep happy. He won't, because it's virtually impossible. However, he can build more bridges by making the Super Bowl happen during a holiday weekend.

Don't worry, Canadian fans, it could be a day off for you, too, just depending on if your job gives you Family Day Monday off!

Of course, this rumour has been just that over the years. If the league wanted to drop to two preseason games and add another regular-season game, they could have a while ago. But since Goodell is truly brining it up again and making some valid points, maybe we see the change when the Super Bowl comes to Santa Clara in 2026 for Super Bowl LX.

During his interview, Goodell mentioned the league was good with 17 regular-season games right now. However, he stated he "hated the preseason" and would "drop one of those games for a normal game."

This sounds great for TV ratings, local restaurants and bars, and bank accounts for organizations, but player safety comes to mind.

18 games works in the CFL

We don't have to look far for a blueprint of an 18-game regular season. The Canadian Football League (CFL) has been running this since 1987 with hardly any issues. The only problem fans have is the time of year the Grey Cup is played depending on who hosts. If a city like Winnipeg, which is notorious for brutal winters, is hosting the biggest game in late November/early December, it's an issue. But in places like Vancouver, B.C. where their stadium is a dome, it works.

During the 18-game CFL season, teams have three bye weeks, which went up from two back in 2018. The NFL won't go with as many bye weeks, but we could see an additional one added. Some teams get their time off about four weeks in and don't have a recovery until the end of the season or if they get top spot in the NFC or AFC.

When the San Francisco 49ers traded for Emmanuel Sanders in 2019, he didn't get a bye week. The Niners already had theirs when they got him, and his former team, the Denver Broncos, didn't have theirs yet. So, Sanders can vouch for another week off.

But the NFL and NFLPA would both have to agree on a safety aspect.

An additional game, if scheduled effectively, could be a huge money-maker. You'll have nine games at home and on the road, plus the schedule makers could use the added game to further intensify rivalries. Instead of just two games against the Seattle Seahawks, make it three and alternate who gets the extra home game.

Read more: 49ers awkwardly try to brush off Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk trade drama

The 49ers would greatly benefit from an extra week off considering their injury history. It seems like every year a few of their star players like wide receiver Deebo Samuel, need to sit for a few weeks to nurse an injury. It happens, it's part of the game, but breaking up the season into three parts might work better.

Another advantage of an extra game would be for the CFL. The guys up north already have the stamina to play in all types of weather for more games during the regular season. It could make signing these players to NFL contracts a bit easier, thus growing the game in Canada.

We can all agree to another week of week of football, so let's hope the NFL and NFLPA make this decision before the Bay Area hosts the Super Bowl in 2026.

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