There was never any doubt the NFL’s owners would vote in favor of a 17-game scheduled beginning next season. In fact, it was such a foregone conclusion that it was expected to be unanimous.
Not so. Bears chairman George McCaskey voted against the extra game, ESPN reported Wednesday, and is the only owner known to have done so.
The league announced the expanded schedule Tuesday, and the expected move factored significantly into new television contract negotiations. The NFL is scrapping a preseason game and move the Super Bowl back a week to make room for the extra game.
The scheduling model will remain the same except the additional matchup will be a cross-conference game that rotates among divisions based on teams’ finish the previous season. The home-road split will alternate by conference, with the entire NFC playing on the road this season and the AFC doing so in 2022.
The Bears will visit the Raiders next season after both teams finished second in their division.