The NFL will take advantage of Christmas Day falling on a Sunday.
The league will have three games on Dec. 25 for the first time: two in the afternoon on CBS and Fox, followed by a prime-time contest on NBC. NFL Vice President of Broadcast Mike North revealed the triple title on a podcast hosted by WGR radio host and Buffalo Bills sideline reporter Sal Capaccio.
“Christmas, when it’s an NFL game day, we’ve had a lot of success there, all due respect to our friends in the NBA. It’s something our friends care about,” said North. “If Christmas falls on a Sunday, that makes perfect sense.”
This will be the third year in a row that the league will play over Christmas. Last year, Green Bay’s 24-22 victory over Cleveland averaged 28.6 million viewers on Fox, making it the third most-watched game of the 2021 regular season. Indianapolis vs. Arizona averaged 12.6 million on NFL Network, the second most-watched game in network history.
For Week 16, the league will have its regular Thursday night game on December 22. Eleven games will take place on December 24, including one night game on NFL Network. After the Christmas triple title, the week will end with a Monday night contest on December 26.
There were 24 games in the NFL on Christmas Day, including two postseason games in 1971. The most famous game of December 25 remains Miami’s 27-24 victory over Kansas City in double overtime in the AFC Divisional Round.
The trio of NFL games will put it in direct competition with the NBA, which has long had the upper hand. The NBA has played five games every December 25 for the past 14 seasons.
North added that the NFL will play at least two Christmas games on Dec. 25, when the holiday falls on a Monday.
This year’s Christmas matches will be revealed the week of May 9. The league announced Thursday that the full schedule will be released on May 12. However, the first “Thursday Night Football” game on Prime Video will be revealed during the first round of the NFL Draft on April 28 and international games on May 4.