We're a couple of days from the NFL releasing its full schedule for the 2023 season. We already know every teams home and away opponents. We just don't know which week they will play those teams or what their bye weeks will be.
There are some tweaks to the schedule that have been announced. The NFL is going to have a Black Friday game for the first time. Usually, college football has swooped in on the day after Thanksgiving with a couple of matchups.
Apparently, the NFL wants to take over that day as well. Remember the line from the movie Concussion (2015)? Dr. Wecht said the NFL was “a corporation that has 20 million people on a weekly basis craving their product the same way they crave food. The NFL owns a day of the week, the same day the Church used to own. Now it's theirs.”
It seems that owning Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays just won't do. I'm waiting for the day when we have an NFL game on every day of the week at this rate. You laugh now but just wait.
The Black Friday game will be shown on Amazon as are the Thursday night games. Which means I won't be watching since I don't do Amazon Prime.
Games Hit The Free Agent Market
Remember when AFC games were on one network, NFC games were on the other and the inter-conference games were split between the two? Yeah, you can forget that in 2023.
Another “change” is that all of the games are free agents to be carved up between the networks. I'm not sure how it will be determined which network gets which game or if they have agents negotiating contracts? I'm confused. All I'll say is thank goodness I watch NFL Redzone on Sundays.
Teams Eligible For Two Thursday Games
I'm thinking this one is going to go over like a lead balloon with the players. A vast majority of them already hate the four day turnaround from Sunday to Thursday. Even with a bye week scheduled around it to try to mitigate the issue.
Doing it twice a year? Yikes. As for myself, I'm not a fan of Thursday night football at all, and it has nothing to do with not wanting to give Amazon more money.
I'm something of a traditionalist when it comes to football. I hate the new mega-stadiums. I want the Buccaneers and Seahawks to go back to their original uniforms, and somebody please burn those gawd-awful Color Rush uniforms while we're at it. Bye weeks make my left eye twitch.
For years the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions hosted games on Thanksgiving Day as the only Thursday games of the season. It worked. Gather with family, eat way too much turkey, and watch the Lions lose and the Cowboys (usually) win before slipping into a food coma.
‘Murica! Somebody get me a beer and a hot dog!
Having a weekly Thursday game not only increases the chances for player injuries, but it also cheapens the uniqueness of the Thanksgiving Day games. I'd rather they go back to just one Thursday a season, but that's likely a fool's hope.
Not all teams guaranteed a primetime game
Given the NFL has a not-so-hot record at picking who the best teams will be during the season, this one is going to be a train wreck. Unless the NFL is planning on flexing games in and out of the primetime slots. It's the only way to avoid two teams with a losing record playing a low-scoring field goal fest in prime time.
Which causes another issue: What about fans who plan to attend the game based on the original time and day? You flex the game out of that time slot and in many cases the fans may not be able to adjust to the change.
At a recent meeting one owner brought up that impact and how unfair it was to fans that made plans to attend a game. I get the feeling the NFL could care less. Which is a sad indictment on the NFL today.
To give an example, back in the 1980s I lived in Odessa, Texas. I know, the horror!. But I would fly into Dallas on Sunday morning, catch a game at Texas Stadium, and then fly home that evening.
Try setting that up now only to have the game flexed to a different time, or even a different day. As hard as it is these days to reschedule a flight, and with airlines not refunding tickets? If the NFL carries through there's going to be a lot of unhappy fans to go along with a lot of unhappy players.