NFL Football Schedule

The NFL football schedule has 4 seasons: The preseason, the regular season, the playoffs and the unofficial off season.

The NFL preseason consist of 4 exhibition games for every team except the two teams that participant in the hall of game, these two teams play 5 exhibitions games.

The NFL football schedule season starts in early August and ends in early September. Each team has two home and two away games. The games are used to evaluate new players who are drafted or sign with a new team.

Veteran players will play about 1 quarter of each exhibition game to minimize the risk of injury.

The regular seasonbegins with 32 teams playing 16 games on a 17 week NFL football schedule, with the extra week being used as a bye to allow teams to rest their players.

The regular season start with a prime time Thursday night game after Labor Day. The regular season NFL football schedule starts in late September and no early than September 4, no later than September 10th.

The regular season NFL football schedule ends no later than January 3 of any given season.

The NFL football schedule playoffs starts with a 12 team tournament to determine which teams will play in the Super Bowl. The tournament are made up of 6 teams from the NFC and 6 teams from the AFC.

The teams consist of 4 division champions from each conference, these are the teams in each division with the best regular season won-lost record, they are seeded one through four based on their regular season won-lost-tied record.

Note tiebreaker rules may apply.

The 2 wild card teams from each conference are non division champions with the conference's best record, IE the best won lost tied percentages.

Tiebreakers rules are in place in case there are teams with the same number of wins and losses. These teams are seeded five and six.


When the playoffs start the Number 1 and Number 2 seeded team from each conference receives a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

These two teams will automatically advance to the second round of the playoff, which is the Divisional Playoffs games, to play against the winning team from the first round of the playoffs.

In the first round of the playoff from each conference, the Number 3 and the Number 6 seeded teams, and the Number 4 and Number 5 seeded teams will play each other in the first round of the NFL football schedule Wildcard Playoff.

In the Divisional Playoffs the Number 1 seeded team always plays the lowest seed in the conference. The higher seeded teams always get home field advantage and will host the game at the home field.

The two teams who won in each conference and advance to the Divisional Playoff games will meet in the Conference Championship game with the winner of those games going to complete against one another in the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl is a game that is located at a neutral venue that is either indoors or in a warm weather climate. The home teams alternate year to year between the two conferences.

The AFC is the designated home team in even-numbered games and the NFC is the home team in odd-numbered games.

The NFL is the only one out of the 4 major professional sports leagues in the United States to use a single game elimination tournament in the playoffs.

The NBA, MBA and NHL all have a best of series instead.

The Pro Bowl is the NFL all-star game and has been played on the weekend after the Super Bowl. The game was played at various venues before being held at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii for 30 consecutive seasons from 1980 to 2009.

However, the 2010 Pro Bowl was played at Sun Life Stadium, the home stadium of the Miami Dolphins and host site of Super Bowl XLIV, on January 31, the first time ever that the Pro Bowl was played before the Super Bowl.

The all star game returned to Honolulu in 2011 and will again be played there in 2012, though the 2011 game was still played before the Super Bowl.

The players from the Super Bowl who are selected to the Pro Bowl will not play in the all star game because the super bowl is the following week and no player wants to risk injury before playing in the Super Bowl.

The Off Season

  • Player cannot be formally punished or fined for not attending.
  • The workouts can run from on or about the last Monday or March" to 10 days before the opening of training camp.
  • No player can participate in more than 14 weeks of the program, and no weekend workouts can be scheduled by the teams.
  • No player can participate more than four days a week.
  • Players can participate in drills or other activities. But no team drills are allowed- no pads other than helmets as well as protective pads for knees and elbows.

OTA (organized team activity)

  • Players cannot be formally punished or fined for not attending.
  • Fourteen day of full-team practices.
  • No pads other than helmets as well as protective pads for knees and elbows.
  • Teams with new head coaches are allowed some additional OTA days.

Mini Camp

  • Players can be fined for not attending.
  • Three days of full-team practices.
  • Teams must designate to the league which three days of the off season program will be mandatory.
  • No pads other than helmets as well as protective pads for knees and elbows.
As you can see there's not a lot of time off for players counting the playoff team and the 2 super bowl participants.

Even if you don't make the playoff you may have 2 months in a half to recuperate and spend time with family and friends. But if its done rights what a life.