The sports calendar makes it so that you always know what time of the year it is based on which games are being played. The NFL is trying to make every season its own.
After a frenzied free agency period that took much of the spotlight away from March Madness and college basketball at the beginning of that month, the NFL is doing its best to bully the NBA, on the latter’s most hallowed day of the regular season, by announcing that it will be playing three games on Christmas Day this year.
“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. It is something that our friends are interested in,” NFL Vice President of Broadcasting Mike North recently revealed. “If Christmas falls on a Sunday, it makes perfect sense.”
This year’s entire Christmas weekend will be dominated by the NFL — a Thursday night game on December 22, 11 games on Christmas Eve (including one at night), games on CBS, FOX, and NBC on Christmas, and then Monday Night Football on the 26th.
This is how you flood the market and strangle your competition. Roger Goodell is the new Marlo Stanfield.
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Adam Silver and the NBA must respond in a way that will bring the glory back to Christmas Day games. However, it won’t be easy given that last year’s much-hyped lineup didn’t live up to expectations. When it was announced that the 2021 Christmas Day slate would feature matchups like Hawks/Knicks, Celtics/Bucks, Warriors/Suns, Nets/Lakers, and Mavericks/Jazz there were enough stars and drama to entertain casual and diehard fans.
But then, injuries messed everything up. Trae Young was injured when the Hawks made their first appearance in Madison Square Garden since obliterating the Knicks in five games in the playoffs. The Warriors were still without Klay Thompson, Luka Dončić was out for the Mavericks, and Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis were all missing from the anticipated matchup between Brooklyn and Los Angeles. The Celtics and Bucks game was the only one that featured all of its stars. However, it was slated in the early afternoon making it feel like a glorified junior varsity game.
With already having three games on Thanksgiving, the NFL is looking to own a second major holiday this year. After having a Christmas schedule that featured Cleveland/Green Bay and Indianapolis/Arizona last year, you can be sure that the league will make sure this year’s schedule is more attractive to a national audience.
On Monday, it was announced that Amazon is willing to pay between $70 to $100 million for a Black Friday game. And if that happens, it’s almost a lock as it’s being reported that it would be somewhere between $2.1 million and $3.2 million per team. And given the way that this league and these owners love money, you can already pencil this game on the schedule.
The NFL’s 2022 schedule will be released in a few weeks…smack dab in the middle of the NBA playoffs. Roger Goodell is trying to make Adam Silver bend the knee.