When Does The NFL Season Start?

When Does the NFL Season Start

Every year, during the summer months, fans of NFL football eagerly look forward to the start of a new season filled with exciting games and matchups between their favorite teams. But when exactly does the NFL season start each year, and are there any games before the season begins? Below, we will go over when the NFL season starts and ends, and how it is divided up.

When Does the NFL Season Begin?

The general dates for the start of each portion of the yearly NFL season are as follows:

  • Preseason Starts: Mid-August
  • Regular Season First Game: Thursday after Labor Day (September)
  • Playoffs Start: Mid-January

NFL Preseason

While the NFL regular season begins in the week after Labor Day, there are football games held before the season starts, during the preseason. The NFL preseason consists of various exhibition games played between teams in the league, and it usually starts early in the month of August, consisting of three weeks of games that prepare teams for the upcoming regular season.

Prior to the 2021-2022 season, the NFL preseason consisted of four weeks, in which each of the 32 league teams played four games, one each week. However, due to the adoption of a 17-game regular season in 2021, which added a week to the NFL schedule, the preseason was shortened to three games. 

NFL Regular Season

The NFL season typically begins the week after Labor Day, a holiday celebrated in the United States on the first Monday in the month of September. Since 2002, the league has held the opening game of the regular season on the Thursday after Labor Day, and the game is typically hosted by the winners of the Super Bowl. This means that the earliest day an NFL season can begin is September 4, while the latest day it can begin is September 10. In 2023, the NFL season will begin on Thursday, September 7.

NFL Postseason

Typically, the NFL postseason begins in the middle of the month of January. The NFL regular season takes place over 18 weeks, beginning in early September, placing the start of the postseason naturally in the middle of January. The postseason consists of three rounds across three weeks and is capped off by the Super Bowl, the NFL’s championship game, which typically occurs in early February.


When is NFL football season?

NFL football season is the period of the year in which the National Football League holds its yearly schedule of games, all leading up to the Super Bowl Championship. The NFL season generally begins in mid-August with the preseason, but its official starting point is in September, typically on the Thursday after Labor Day.

How long is the NFL season?

The NFL season is approximately five to six months long. Including the preseason, NFL season lasts for around five-and-a-half months, starting in mid-August and ending in February. However, excluding the preseason, the NFL season lasts around five months. The official length of the NFL regular season, not including either the preseason or the playoffs, is 18 weeks, in which each team plays 17 games and has one bye week.

When does the NFL season end?

The NFL season typically ends in February, with the hosting of the Super Bowl, the league’s annual championship game. The Super Bowl has moved throughout history, having been held both in late January and early February. Prior to 2003, the Super Bowl was held late in January, but since then, it has been held exclusively in early February. The Super Bowl marks the official end of the NFL season by crowning a league champion and awarding them the Lombardi Trophy.