Browns-Steelers at The Horseshoe in Columbus? Colts-Texans at Notre Dame Stadium? Lions-Bears at the Big House in Ann Arbor? Nick Saban’s former NFL team playing in his current college team’s home stadium?
The latter might be a stretch, but the others certainly would be in the realm of possibility, depending on how the next several months play out.
The NFL and its ownership groups are in the midst of negotiations with the NFL Players Association on a new collective bargaining agreement. One of the main talking points, in addition to finally relaxing its archaic marijuana policy, is expanding the regular season.
Currently at 16 games, the push is on for a 17-game regular season that could potentially (and mercifully) see the preseason cut in half. A report from CBS Sports over the weekend noted that “[t]he additional game for each club would be played out-of-market, the sources said, with a heavy emphasis on key international locales like the United Kingdom (London and Ireland, in particular), Germany, Mexico and Brazil.”
In that same report, it’s briefly noted that the out-of-market games for NFL teams could be played at college stadiums as well.
The NFL has also talked internally about playing games in other cities in the U.S. which do not have pro teams, with some buzz about playing a game at Notre Dame or Alabama, as well as Hawaii and cities in Canada. It is viewed as a unique and profound way to grow the game globally and extend the reach of sales, merchandising and broadcast rights around the globe, with there only so much more room for growth within America.
The current CBA does not expire until 2021, meaning any NFL games in college stadiums wouldn’t happen until 2022 at the earliest (if at all). There’s little doubt, though, that most, if not all, college stadiums would more than welcome the additional revenue — revenue that could go to overpaying head coaches and not paying players — that would come with hosting an NFL game.