Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The NFL has huge Christmas plans for their 2024 schedule: Rare Wednesday doubleheader games to be put up for bid

The NFL is making exciting Christmas plans for its 2024 schedule! Even though the holiday falls on a Wednesday, the league has scheduled a doubleheader—two games! This is an unusual event, considering the NFL usually avoids scheduling games on Wednesdays. It will be only the third season in 75 years that the NFL has played a Wednesday game, and only the second time in 75 years that a Wednesday game has been put on the schedule. For over a century, the NFL avoided messing with Christmas.

As recently as December, it seemed like the NFL would skip Christmas in 2024. Hans Schroeder, the league’s executive vice president for media distribution, had said that playing on Tuesdays or Wednesdays made little sense for the league.

“We’re not looking to play football on a Tuesday or Wednesday at this point, especially this late in the year as we get closer to the postseason,” Schroeder told The Athletic in December. “We want to concentrate on the playoffs and allow that competitive equality to show through. “I don’t think we’ll look at Tuesday or Wednesday football.”

Until 1989, there were just two Christmas games in NFL history—a handful of playoff games in 1971. There was criticism for the games encroaching on the vacation. Even when the NFL began experimenting with Christmas games many years later, it was uncommon. Through 2015, there were just 17 Christmas Day games in the NFL, spanning 96 seasons. If Christmas falls on a Sunday, the NFL will reschedule.

On Wednesday, for other reasons as well, it was also forbidden. From 1948 until last season, there had only been two Wednesday games in NFL history. The NFL shifted a Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants season opener from Thursday to Wednesday in 2012 to accommodate the Democratic National Convention, while a 2020 Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers game was played on Wednesday due to COVID-19 problems.

That meant the NFL had certain limitations. Not anymore.

The NFL’s declaration on Tuesday that it would have a Christmas Day doubleheader is alarming. When the NFL saw that Christmas was on Wednesday, they decided to take over another day.

It’s a little step. Don’t assume the NFL will stop there, or that it’s a step in the right direction.

The NFL’s decision to play a Wednesday game is shocking, if only because the league has historically avoided scheduling games on that day of the week. The two Christmas games will be the NFL’s third Wednesday game in 75 years, and just the second time the league has scheduled a Wednesday game.

Since 1949, the Giants’ sole scheduled Wednesday game was in Week 1 of the 2012 season, when they hosted the Cowboys. The first game of the season is usually played on Thursday, but the NFL changed it to Wednesday to avoid a clash with the Democratic National Convention.

The only other Wednesday game occurred in 2020, when a Ravens-Steelers clash was shifted to Wednesday due to COVID concerns.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Wednesday doubleheader will be the first time the NFL has scheduled two games on Wednesday since 1936.

According to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Wednesday games will remain unusual. At this week’s annual league meeting, Goodell said that Wednesday football would not be played regularly in the future. “It will not be a regular thing,” Goodell remarked, according to Pro Football Talk. “It will be when Christmas falls on a Wednesday.”

Last year, the NFL organised a Christmas tripleheader, which proved to be a huge hit. Not only did the three games have an average viewership of 28.7 million, but they were all in the top ten most-watched regular-season games in 2023.

If you’re wondering how the Wednesday games will work in a schedule sense, the NFL has already planned it: The Christmas game will take place in Week 17 after the clubs that play on Christmas play on Saturday in Week 16 (December 21).

Abu Bakar
Abu Bakar
Abubakar is a writer and digital marketing expert. Who has founded multiple blogs and successful businesses in the fields of digital marketing, software development. A full-service digital media agency that partners with clients to boost their business outcomes.
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