Browns fans will get an extra regular season game at FirstEnergy Stadium in 2021 thanks to Tuesday's landmark league announcement to expand the regular season schedule to 17 games.
The Browns will host the Arizona Cardinals at FirstEnergy Stadium during the 2021 regular season as a result of the decision. The 17th game will feature teams from opposing conferences that finished in the same place within their division the previous season. The AFC was determined to be the home conference for the 17th game in 2021.
The league's owners voted on the change Tuesday, marking the first adjustment to the NFL's regular season schedule since 1978, when it expanded from 14 to 16 games.
"This is a monumental moment in NFL history," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "The CBA with the players and the recently completed media agreements provide the foundation for us to enhance the quality of the NFL experience for our fans. And one of the benefits of each team playing 17 regular-season games is the ability for us to continue to grow our game around the world."
The NFL also announced additional structure to its International Series. Starting in 2022, all 32 teams will be guaranteed at least one international game every eight years. The NFL will schedule up to four neutral-site games per year in a country outside the United States will focus initially on Canada, Europe, Mexico, South America and the United Kingdom. In addition, interested clubs can continue to volunteer to play home games internationally, as is currently the case.
With the addition of a 17th regular season game, the NFL reduced the preseason schedule from four to three games. Every team will host 10 games total in a given season, meaning teams that receive an extra home game during the regular season will only have one home preseason game.
The 17th game will rotate on an annual basis and pair teams that finished in the same place within their respective division in the previous season. It's yet to be determined which NFC division the Browns and the rest of the AFC North will be paired with in 2022 and beyond.
The NFL will announce its full regular season schedule later this spring.
Here's a breakdown of the Browns' 2021 opponents.