The lure of more money was too much to pass up.
NFL owners did the expected Tuesday and approved a 17-game regular season beginning this fall.
Owners built the right to expand the regular season into their collective bargaining agreement last spring, and the move was widely expected — despite the protests of players during CBA negotiations — after a revenue shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
Under the league’s new scheduling formula, teams will continue to play two games against each of their division opponents, two intraconference games based on the prior year’s standings, four interconference games against another division on a rotating basis and single games against every team from another division within the conference.
The 17th game will come against a rotating interconference opponent based on the prior year’s standings, and the preseason will be shortened to three games.
The Detroit Lions will visit the Denver Broncos in their 17th game this fall.
The Lions also play home-and-away games against the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings; home games against the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals; and road games against the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns.
Host cities for the 17th game will rotate by conference every year.
Along with the 17th game, owners expanded the scheduling formula to require every team to play at least one international game every eight years. Along with London and Mexico, the NFL said it will expand its international series to include games in Canada, Europe and South America.
The Lions will host cornerback Quinton Dunbar on a free agent visit next week, NFL Network reported. Dunbar, who made six starts last season for the Seattle Seahawks, was arrested on armed robbery charges last spring that were later dropped. The charges stemmed from an incident in which Dunbar and cornerback Deandre Baker allegedly stole jewelry and money at gunpoint from people at a house party as retaliation for gambling losses a night earlier. Dunbar battled a knee injury much of last season.