With the 2016-17 NFL season, it’s time for the league’s TV’s partners to look ahead for the next season and what teams they’ll lobby for. Due to the Dallas Cowboys’ effect on the ratings in the second half of last season, there’s no doubt that all of the networks will want to maximize the number of appearances each can televise. But one story coming out of the Super Bowl is that the NFL could move some late-season Thursday Night Football games to Saturday.

Nothing is etched in stone, but once college football season ends, that means that the NFL could schedule some games in primetime on Saturdays. If that’s the case, then some teams won’t have have to deal with a Thursday night game. And it could mean a higher quality game on a Saturday as compared to Thursday.

Until the schedule is released in the spring, it’s not known how many games will be played on Saturday and if this plan will come to fruition, but it’s one of many that the NFL is throwing around in the offseason.

Another idea that the NFL is kicking around is adopting a 3 p.m./6:30 p.m. ET schedule for its Sunday playoff games, just like on conference championship Sunday.

A couple of other tidbits for 2017, next season’s Mexico City game which will be the Oakland Raiders hosting the New England Patriots. And while last year’s game was on ESPN, the 2017 game in Azteca Stadium is expected to go to CBS.

And while there are other things that the NFL is considering for next season, the main takeaway is that we could see more Saturday night games in 2017, leaving some Thursday nights empty. We’ll see if this becomes reality when the new schedule is the released.

[Sports Business Journal]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang’s Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

  • sarah413

    Up until several years ago, the NFL did schedule games on a Saturday and that was for the last few weeks of the regular season. Definitely makes more sense and is better for player safety than playing on a Sunday then on the following Thursday. Not that the league actually cares about player safety. Or the fans (games in London/Mexico City) for that matter. They care about The Shield and the amassing of dead presidents.

    • Walt_Gekko

      The NFL did away from that in part because of changing habits with holiday shopping and also the Bowl season becoming greatly expanded. Also, the NFL can’t play on Saturdays until after the second Saturday in December in part to allow for High School state championships and also the College Football season if needed to be extended a week if a catastrophic event forced a weekend to be canceled.

  • Dale Moog

    What about the London Games are they all going to be at 1 pm est and as for the Sunday playoffs that idea is way over due. they should have done that when they move the Saturday games back 15 years ago. Also does the NFL have 2 or 3 Saturday night games already so how many more could they add after the College season only 1 or maybe 2 I could see them have a Saturday double header week 15 or 16 one at 4:30 and 8 this could free up the Thursday timeslots

    • newsball

      yes the report is there scrapping the 9:30 am kickoff and just having it at one pm, and also wth these saturday games prior to there new tv deal they usually did have 1 or 2 saturday games after college football, so i think what they’ll do is shift week 15 and 16 tnf games to saturday

  • sportsfan365

    How is this plan fair to the teams with an early season Thursday night game?

    • Walt_Gekko

      You might see some early season Thursday night doubleheaders (with games at 7:30 and 11:00 PM ET split between CBS and NFL Network), especially involving teams playing in the London games who would then have an extra three days to prepare for the London game.

      • GFG

        you’re an idiot! you will never see a 11pm ET football game. Never! So shut up!

        • Ray Gordon

          11:00 PM ET is 8:00 PM PT and prime time on the west coast. Any 11:00 PM ET games would likely be between teams in the Pacific and/or Mountain time zones.

          • crs44

            LOL if the goal is higher ratings, with approximately one-third of the country in bed asleep, this would fail miserably. Dumb idea.

          • Walt_Gekko

            The idea is a higher rating on CBS. That’s why the night games are done in a split in this format (7:30 PM ET on CBS in the east/4:30 PM PT on NFL Network in the west and 8:00 PM PT on CBS in the west/11:00 PM ET on NFL Network in the east). In the rare case where an opposite coast team is on the road, that area gets both games on CBS.

  • Ben

    How about proofreading your articles before posting…. Numerous typographical errors.

  • Saber Khai

    This will turn into quite the battle between the NFL and the NCAA. Saturday is college football until what, late November? Then there’s a few weeks off before Bowl Season? Yeah, SOMEBODY’s going to squeak, and it’ll be interesting to see if the NFL actually flinches.

    • Dale Moog

      No, First Saturday in Dec is Conference champ week they could play NFL in Prime time week 2 but that is Heisman trophy night the next seek is the first week of bowl season and they still play an NFL game they have 5 bowl games and an NFL game

      • Walt_Gekko

        Actually, since 9/11 the NFL has not been allowed to have games on the second Saturday in December due to many high school state championship games taking place that weekend and also that week (other than Army-Navy) is held in reserve by the NCAA in case it is needed for Championship games because of earlier postponements due to unforeseeable situations.

  • Walt_Gekko

    The NFL already has had Saturday night games in Weeks 15 and 16 for some time. This might simply mean eliminating the late-season Thursday night games (after the Week after Thanksgiving where teams are playing that game on normal rest) that have the potential to give a team that plays on Thursday in Week 16 and Sunday in Week 17 an unfair advantage in the Wild Card round (as the Giants actually had last year but could not exploit it).

    One other thing the NFL could do as part of this is add a fourth game to Thanksgiving day by moving up the other games to say 12:05, 3:45 and 7:30 PM with a new late game at 11:00 PM ET on Thanksgiving night (with the night doubleheader split between NBC and NFL Network, Game 1 airing in the east on NBC/west on NFL Network, Game 2 airing in the west on NBC/east on NFL Network).

    • Dale Moog

      This Will NEVER HAPPEN the days of time shifting by network are so over. The NFL will never air 4 games on Thanksgiving and if they did it would be noon, 3:15, 6:30 and 10:45 est with Dallas on at 6:30 and Detroit on at noon

    • crs44

      So people on the east coast will stay up until 2 in the morning to watch a football game? Yeah right. Ratings would plummet.

      • Walt_Gekko

        Actually, with many stores open on Thanksgiving night until Midnight or later now, people coming back from shopping Thanksgiving night would be still up when the 11:00 PM ET game is going.

  • ItsBlackjack115

    Better idea: TNF moves to ESPN, Super Bowl gets aired a 4-network rotation rather than the current 3, and move MNF back to ABC.

    • Walt Gekko

      Will never happen. ABC has a powerhouse lineup on Mondays with “Dancing With The Stars” anchoring it and coupled with MNF on ESPN gives Disney a 1-2 punch that can’t be easily countered.

      What was MNF moved to NBC as SNF after 2005 because Disney was losing $150 Million a year on the old version of MNF. The current MNF on ESPN makes a ton for Disney in many more ways.

  • YouAreWrongAndDumb

    Love more Saturday games after the NCAA football season, and if it’s at the expense of those Thursday night games, even better!

  • James Uy Ty III

    I hope NBC comes up with a better TNF theme song next season. Carrie Underwood is not a good fit. The one with Priyanka Chopra the season before is more upbeat.