Joe Montana Weighs in on NFL's 17-Game Schedule, Emphasis on Taunting (Exclusive)

The 2021 NFL season features two new things that will make a big impact — an additional regular-season game and a stronger emphasis on taunting. It's clear as the NFL grows every year, it will make changes that will have some backlash among players and fans. recently caught up with Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana who shared his thoughts on some of the new rules of today's NFL. 

"I think as a player, you would like it," Montana told PopCutlure when asked about a longer regular season. "You would rather play 17 real games instead of, and one less pre-season game. Because pre-season games, they're tough, because the older guys who are established are just trying to get through. They want to get in, get warmed up. And then, you've got the young guys who are trying to make a team are going sometimes harder. You're playing at two different levels. Like, I said, the older guys want to just get through. They don't want to get hurt. They want to get through the season as fast as they can. I think this does it for them."

The NFL made the move to add another regular-season game during the offseason, and it's the first time since 1978 the league expanded the schedule. At that time, NFL teams were playing 14 regular-season games as well as six preseason games. When the league expanded to 16 games, the preseason was cut down to four weeks. Now that it's 17 games, the majority of NFL teams play three preseason games with a bye week before the regular season. 

"Obviously, that adds another dimension to getting to the playoffs and gives the NFL another real game that is meaningful, into usually which adds up to money for those guys, so they'll be happy," Montana added. "But I would think as a player, yeah, I would rather play another regular game than to get halfway through, get pulled out, sit with guys that are playing around on the sideline."

With the regular season longer in 2021, this gives NFL officials more time to penalizes players for taunting. This has frustrated fans and players as taunting is part of the game. But coaches wanted the taunting toned down in 2021 as they believe it can lead to fights. 


"I understand where they're going with it, and you don't want it to become a big part of the game," Montana stated. "It's fun to celebrate, but then there are those battles you watch. Especially on the outside with the corners and the wide receivers, there's a battle going on out there all the time, and you get carried away, guys just get carried away after they make a big play on either end. 

"[Bill Walsh] always used to say, 'Act like you've been here before.' And I've been there, you get in the end zone. Yeah, you watch our guys, you see very much celebration from them, but you might have seen a spike here and there, or just run and drop the ball, and keep going. I don't see any bad in it unless it gets to be excess. But they're always trying to control everything."