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August, five weekends of exhibition games are currently played in the NFL. The games are useful for new players who are not used to playing in front of very large crowds. Management often uses the games to evaluate newly signed players. Thus, first-stringers’ playing time is kept brief in the exhibition season, and in fact players are not paid their regular salaries for exhibitions, but the same per diem which they receive for training camp. The exhibition game tickets, however, are usually the same price as regular-season games. Several lawsuits, by individual fans or by class action, have been brought against specific teams or the entire NFL over the practice of requiring season-ticket holders to purchase exhibition games. To date, none of these suits has been successful.
Exhibition games have been played in professional football since the beginning of the sport. When the NFL was founded in 1920, there were no such things as exhibition games, and all games counted in the standings and would be used to determine the league champion. In 1921 this was revised to only count games involving two league members, thus allowing non-league exhibitions but still effectively disallowing exhibitions between two league teams. In 1924, the league again changed the rule to declare games held in December or later to be exhibitions. In the 1960s, teams began playing 14 regular season games, and there was a corresponding decrease in the length of the preseason. Teams played four or five preseason games each year. By the end of the decade, however, there would be a rapid increase in the number of preseason games, quickly reaching 1950s levels.
The exhibition season then became, and remains, a large source of owner revenue that is not shared with the players. 16 games, and the exhibition season was cut from six to four games. Two teams play five exhibition games, however. In order to account for the uneven number of teams, each team was required to have a bye week during the exhibition season. Most teams held their bye week in Hall of Fame weekend, while the others utilized them somewhere else during the exhibition season. 2002, giving it an even 32 teams.
The exhibition games do not count toward any statistics, streaks, season standings or records whatsoever. Still, professional football is popular enough that many fans still pay full price for exhibition game tickets, which they must purchase in order to keep their regular-season seats. Many teams are sold out on a season ticket basis and have large waiting lists, with fans required to pay a one-time or annual fee for the privilege of remaining on the waiting list. This matchup was an extra exhibition game for the two teams involved and was often played on the same weekend as the Hall of Fame Game. In addition, teams previously played home games at stadiums on the fringes of their markets or in markets not currently served by NFL teams. Green Bay Packers game per year until the late 90s. FCC vote in September 2014 to no longer enforce blackouts, eliminated blackout rules for at least the last two seasons.
Many more exhibition games fail to sell out than do regular-season games. The games are also carried by the teams’ local radio networks, but the affiliate count is often reduced due to conflicts with baseball and other local sports. Unlike the regular season, the exhibition matchups are not based on any rotating or set formula. The NFL schedules the matchups for all of the exhibition games. Since 2002, individual teams have been allowed to negotiate their own deals to play each other during the preseason. The exhibition season schedule is released in the spring, shortly before the regular season schedule is announced. No two teams will face each other in the same exhibition season more than once.
No NFL team will play a team outside the league. Teams in the same division will not play one another during the exhibition season. The league shies away from teams playing in the exhibition season if they are scheduled to play in the regular season. However, this is not always avoidable.
These games allow teams to travel to particular markets more frequently than normal, and represent “fresh” matchups. Teams with close personal ties often play each other. Panthers Director of Player Development since the team’s inception. Detroit and at one point owned a share of the Lions. Along with general in-state rivalries, some long-established “Governor’s Cups” are played annually.
NFL factors in former division rivalries which were broken due to teams moving to different divisions. In some rare cases, the league has scheduled “hot” regular-season matchups if they did not happen to be scheduled to play that season. The teams were not scheduled to play one another in 2003, so the league reacted by scheduling a Monday night preseason game for them that season. AFC team and one NFC team. Under some circumstances, the matchup is planned well into the future. 1998 Hall of Fame Game, a matchup that had been announced in 1983. The Hall of Fame game served as a kickoff to the 2009 season, which would have been the 50th season of play for the AFL had it survived as an independent entity.