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Happy anniversary, 16-game schedule

Kansas City Chiefs v San Diego Chargers

the Kansas City Chiefs the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 29, 2013 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 27-2 in overtime. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Stephen Dunn

It is safe to say there are many, many NFL fans who have never known life without a 16-game NFL schedule.

But the regular season wasn’t always this long.

Thirty-seven years ago today, the NFL expanded the regular season from 14 to 16 games. The league also added a second wild-card team. Both changes took effect as of 1978.

And for nearly four decades, the scheduling status quo has held.

This, of course, could change very soon, with so much speculation about the addition of a third wild-card team, thus increasing the playoff count to seven teams per conference.

There has also been speculation about a move to 18 regular season games at some point. This could lead to change in the preseason structure, which has long been a four-game format.

Well, 37 years ago today, the NFL implemented that four-game preseason slate.

As dates go, March 29, 1977 was a pretty important one in NFL history. The oh-so-familiar rhythm of the NFL game calendar started to take hold.