The Future of the NFL in the Coming Decade
As the NFL kicks off to a new decade, we thought we would take a look at how the game could evolve over the next ten years. 2020 may be off to a rocky start thanks to an unwanted surprise pandemic, but the NFL remains optimistic that this year’s season will begin on time.
There’s no doubt that the 2020 NFL season will look and feel a bit different thanks to a number of restrictions that may have to be put in place, but there are also a number of things to look forward to this year and in the coming decade.
Much of the excitement around football in the coming decade will be legalized online sports betting. Recent legislation has seen states like New Jersey now allow fans to bet on all the exciting 2020 NFL games. Whether you’re into moneyline bets, point spread bets, or over/under bets, you can now easily join the many football fans that will be placing bets via the best NFL sportsbooks in NJ via their laptops and mobile devices.
Other changes we could see happen over the next ten years include the relocation of teams, expanding the league, rule changes, and possibly the rise of a new team dynasty. So let us break down some of the latest news and predictions of what the NFL may look like in the new decade.
Impact of the Pandemic on the 2020 NFL Season
As we touched on previously, despite the pandemic disruptions we have experienced during the first half of the year, the NFL is hoping to literally kick things off in September. While the NFL has a number of concerns to work through over the coming weeks, training camp looks to begin at the end of July with a potential shortening of the pre-season.
Roughly a third of the NFL teams have already seen players test positive for the unfortunate virus that has wreaked havoc on the world. When the season does begin, players will most likely have to get tested several times per week in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease. This could prove interesting when it comes to choosing players for fantasy leagues.
One thing that will be noticeable this year is that the NFL will prohibit fans from sitting in the first six to eight rows of all football stadiums. Instead of thousands of rowdy fans just steps from the field, you can expect to see giant tarps covered in advertisements. This increased advertising revenue space will be welcomed by NFL teams wishing to recoup the costs of vacant seats. Vacant seats near the sidelines will also provide a bit of safety to the players, allowing them to focus on catching passes instead of anything that may be spread from the fans.
Dominate NFL Teams in the Next Decade
There’s no denying the fact that the New England Patriots dominated last decade, having made five Super Bowl appearances and coming out victorious in three of those. However, this decade the Patriot’s dynasty may come to an end, especially with Tom Brady transferring to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It’s hard to know if another team will follow in the Patriot’s cleat steps but one of the likeliest contenders would be the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs definitely have momentum coming off a Super Bowl victory for the 2019 season and have a promising young quarterback in Patrick Mahomes that could have many good years ahead of him barring any serious injuries. Mahomes not only led the team to a Super Bowl LIV victory, but was also awarded the Super Bowl MVP. The second youngest quarterback to win a Superbowl, he is helped by several great receivers including Demarcus Robinson, Tyreek Hill, and Sammy Watkins.
The San Francisco 49ers had two Super Bowl showings last decade but sadly weren’t able to convert any of those appearance into a win. It remains to be seen if they can fine tune things enough to secure a victory this decade, but becoming a dynasty looks doubtful.
Football fans in Los Angeles have two chances to win a Super Bowl, with both the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers sharing Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium. While there may be two chances for the city to revel in glory in the next decade, the Chargers may end up soon relocating due to poor attendance from the few fans they currently have. On the other side of the country, the Baltimore Ravens could be another team that could see much success in the coming years.
Three teams have relocated in the past decade and we shouldn’t be surprised to see more follow suit in the next ten years. One of the most exciting moves could be the Jacksonville Jaguars leaving the heat of Florida for cold and wet England across the ditch. The Jaguars have somewhat become London’s home team, having played a number of home games there during previous seasons. If the London move doesn’t pan out, you could see them heading to St. Louis instead.
Another contender for a move is the Los Angeles Chargers who simply need to seek out a new home to garner some fans and revenue. They too could end up in London or St. Louis in the coming years or may find themselves a bit closer to home in Austin, Texas.
Expanding the League
While the NFL may already have more teams than other professional sports leagues in the U.S. (32), we could definitely see an additional four teams added to the league during the next decade. We may not have seen any teams added last decade, but four teams have been added within a ten year period before. The most recent addition to the league is of course the Houston Texans which will celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2022.
It’s hard to believe that Canada still lacks an NFL team. Canada could see an expansion team joining the league, giving a bit of international flair to the game. The most likely cities that could end up hosting an NFL team in the next ten years include Toronto and Montreal. Both cities love football and would have plenty of supportive fans thanks to their large populations. If an expansion team in one or both of these cities works out, you may even see Edmonton hosting an NFL team in the future.
The citizens of Alabama also deserve an NFL team. This football-breathing state would be happy to see an expansion team pop up in Birmingham and this would no doubt attract fans from nearby Mississippi. If a current NFL team doesn’t end up relocating to St. Louis, they too may decide to give birth to a new team. Further into the future, San Antonio is another city likely to join the league at some point.
NFL rules are always evolving, some changes proving great and others as questionable as a blind referee’s calls. Rule changes we have seen in recent years include reducing overtimes to ten minutes and introducing instant replay challenges. One rather big change that is scheduled to come into effect in 2021 is the season going from 16 regular season games to 17. Preseason games will be reduced from four games to three. There was also talk of possibly adding an additional bye week for teams during the season but for now this looks to be on the backburner.
Some much needed rule changes that will go into effect in the coming years will focus on player safety and reducing concussions. Fines and penalties for dangerous hits have already been put into place and there will no doubt be more restrictions in the near future in order to reduce severe injuries. Improvements in helmet design and other football gear will also most likely be made in the coming decade.
Other changes to the league that may be introduced within the next ten years include expanding the playoffs to allow more teams to compete. This would hopefully reduce the occurrence of teams not qualifying for the playoffs despite having a winning record during a season. Oh and that recent overtime change to ten minutes we saw last decade, it wouldn’t be surprising if we saw that revert back to 15 minutes.