When Does the NFL Season End?

Kansas City Chiefs v New Orleans Saints
Kansas City Chiefs v New Orleans Saints / Chris Graythen/GettyImages

The 2023 NFL regular season, like most football seasons, feels like it will never end, but the horrible truth is that every season ends. In order to enjoy a Super Bowl, a regular season must have passed. Fortunately, the NFL regular season doesn't end until Roger Goodell says it ends, which is early January.

An NFL season lasts approximately half a calendar year, but it still seems to fly by every single time. The 2023 NFL regular season lasts exactly four months, starting on on Thursday, September 7 and ending on Sunday, January 7. Over that span there will be 272 games played. It seems like so much at the start of the season.

The final game of the season will take place in the 8:20pm window for Sunday Night Football. The teams playing in the final regular season primetime game will not be determined until Week 17. In theory, the juiciest matchup with the biggest playoff implications will be flexed to primetime. In practice, the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers were flexed into the final game of the 2022 season. By the time the game kicked off the Lions had already been eliminated, but they were still able to beat the Packers to keep them out of the playoffs as well.

And then it's time for the playoffs. There is no Thursday or Monday night game in Week 18. However, the expanded postseason added two Wild Card games, including a Monday Night Football game, to the playoffs, which is nice, but so much more stressful for fans.

So relax. Enjoy yourself. The end of the regular season is a very long way away. Unless you're reading this around the holidays. In which case, hold on for dear life because the warming glow of the National Football League on your home televisions and various streaming devices will be gone very soon. Count down the minutes and savor the football while you can.