Every year, the NFL stages a Monday night doubleheader on the first weekend of the season. This year, the pandemic necessitated what could be the first of several unplanned Monday night doubleheaders.
I strongly prefer watching one game at a time, so I generally like the idea of two Monday night games every week. However, I don’t like the idea of staying up until after 1:00 a.m. ET each and every Monday night of the season.
So how about weekly (or at least periodic) Monday night doubleheaders that use the same format as the CBS/ESPN twin bill? Start one game and 7:00 p.m. ET and the other at 9:00 p.m. ET, and tolerate a one-hour overlap between the games.
In a multi-screen world, plenty would (and presumably two days ago did) watch the end of one game while taking in the beginning of the next one. Even if people watch only one game at a time, the overlapping games still create a five-hour window for football on Monday nights.
Here’s another reason why it could work. Eventually, most states will have legalized betting on sports and plenty of states will allow real-time, in-game wagering. Removing one of the many games from the Sunday early-afternoon window and giving it a semi-exclusive window on Monday night would mean more opportunities for wagering.
Indeed, the prospect of real-time, in-game wagering opens the door to expanding the Sunday windows from three to five, starting with an early-morning London game, the usual three Sunday windows, and a West Coast game starting at midnight ET. A staggered-start doubleheader also could be pursued on Thursday nights, ultimately expanding the five weekly windows to nine — and limiting the longstanding dynamic of playing up to 10 games at once, between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET each and every Sunday.