The NBA is Whoville. And the NFL is the Grinch.
NFL V.P. of broadcasting Mike North recently told Sal Capaccio of WGR in Buffalo that the NFL will field a Christmas triple-header for the first time ever.
“We’ll play one game on CBS in the afternoon, one game on Fox in the afternoon, and our regular Sunday night game on NBC,” North said. “Christmas, when it falls on an NFL game day, we’ve had a lot of success there, all due respect to our friends at the NBA.”
North explained that, as usual, the bulk of the weekend’s games will be played on Saturday, December 24. There also will be a Christmas Eve night game on NFL Network.
North pointed to the success of Vikings-Saints in 2020 and Browns-Packers and Colts-Cardinals in 2021.
“When we can, we will find games for windows on Christmas,” North said.
He said that, in 2023, the NFL will play two or three games on Christmas Day, which lands on a Monday. The question becomes 2024, when Christmas falls on a Wednesday.
“I’m not sure we’re gonna play on Wednesday,” North said, “but when we can play on Christmas, we will.”
I predict they’ll find a way to play on Christmas, wherever it lands. While no one will be playing on three days’ rest, opponents for a Wednesday game could play on the prior Thursday, Friday, and/or Saturday. Or, worst-case scenario, the NFL could use late-season byes, which would result in the teams playing on Sunday, December 15, Christmas Day, and then on Sunday, January 5.
However they finagle the schedule, the captive Christmas audience is every bit as valuable as the Thanksgiving crowd. The NFL has discovered that. And the NFL isn’t about to give it up.