Multiple sources say it hasn’t happened yet. Common sense says it inevitably will.
As the NFL braces for inevitable losses in game-day revenue from fans not attending games and the potential loss of TV revenue from canceled games, the league could eventually suggest to players an idea for rebuilding budgets broken by the pandemic: Expanding from 17 to 18 regular-season games.
Already, 17 games will be played in 2021. For each week lost in 2020 (if any), the easy solution would be to add weeks to future regular seasons by adding an 18th game. Even without lost games, the money lost from the absence of fans becomes a potential impetus for more games.
As one source put it, there’s “zero chance” the players will agree to an 18th game. But consider it from this perspective: If agreeing to 18 games in future years allows current players to avoid reduce revenue in 2020 or 2021, would current players shrug at the increased number of regular-season games?
Again, the league hasn’t raised it yet. As the league begins to identify potential strategies for recouping money lost in 2020, the easiest and most obvious option comes from playing more games, possibly as soon as 2022.