The NFL has put together the final schedule for Week 17, the last day of the 2017 regular season. And in a rarity, all 16 games will be played Sunday afternoon. The last time the NFL ended its season without a primetime game? You have to go back to 1977, back to when Jimmy Carter was President.

So the NFL has scheduled seven games in the early afternoon window and nine in the late afternoon timeslot. It means both CBS and Fox will get doubleheaders.

Since NBC began airing Sunday Night Football in 2006, it had what amounted to a “Win or Go Home” game in Week 17, the winner going to the playoffs and the loser staying home for the postseason. And Al Michaels loved saying “Game 256 of the regular season,” signifying it was the last game of the season before the playoffs.

But with hardly any games that could potentially fall under that definition for Week 17 and with New Year’s Eve being a low-rated night for TV (see the College Football Playoff’s attempts on NYE), the NFL decided to forego SNF for Week 17 and thus NBC will not air a primetime game.

It also means for two weeks in a row, there won’t be a primetime game on Sunday as NBC had its Week 16 game between Minnesota and Green Bay played on Saturday night.

So here’s how the games shape up. The games in bold signify the move from the early 1 p.m. ET window to 4:25 p.m.

NBC has to feel slighted, but also perhaps relieved as it won’t have to worry about low ratings for its storied SNF franchise on New Year’s Eve, and there’s no threat of the game running late and perhaps running into its annual Carson Daly countdown to the New Year.

But one good thing to come out of all this is that America doesn’t have to hear Carrie Underwood’s hideous “Sunday Night” theme tune during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

We’ll see how the NFL makes this up to NBC whether the Peacock gets the more attractive matchups and timeslots in the Wild Card and Divisional Playoff weekends.

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.

  • Bscotch Bscotch

    As a holiday airing, NBC would have labeled SNF as a special and been able to exclude it from the season average.

  • Howard Salwasser

    There are reports that NBC has an option to decline airing a week 17 game, so with no options available, they took the option to do so.

    • Shawn Diiorio

      This is probably part of the TV deal that NFL or NBC can air no game. They probably either get an additional game in 2018 or something else as part of the deal.

      • David

        Probably “something else” as opposed to an extra game. Maybe a more favorable schedule or something like that. NBC already has 2 games in week 1 and Thanksgiving week. Not sure where there’s room to give them an extra game, especially if they’re not a part of the Thursday Night package next year

        • Shawn Diiorio

          There’s always Saturdays in December. But they could get first rights to negotiate the TNF package.

  • Walt_Gekko

    The NFL is going to have to find a way to compensate NBC for there being no Sunday Night game on New Year’s Eve, either by this year giving NBC an extra playoff game and finding a way to compensate CBS or FOX next season OR giving NBC an additional game that would be part of the SNF slate (as I would do it, a new Wednesday-after-Thanksgiving game that would be tied to the tree lighting in Rockefeller Plaza that most likely would be Patriots-Jets PLUS give NBC one “protection override” next year where NBC gets to take a game CBS or FOX protected on one occasion during the flex period and there would be NOTHING CBS or FOX can do about it).

    What also needs to be done starting next season is to add a week to the season with a second bye week tied to mid-week games. The new Week 18 would be done as I would do it with ALL GAMES in one conference kicking off at 3:00 PM Eastern Time and the other conference at 7:00 PM ET, with ALL GAMES the final day divided up between ALL of the NFL’s Broadcast partners. This is how its done in most professional sports leagues outside North America and MLB has actually done this on the last day (with all games starting in MLB on the last day between 3:05 and 3:20 PM ET) in recent years. The NBA has sort of done this as well on the final night (all games in the Eastern and Central time zones at 8:00 PM ET and west of that at 10:30 PM ET the finale night in the NBA). The NFL could do it at 3:00 and 7:00 PM ET on the last day so all games in a conference are at the same time.

    • David

      NBC does not need to be compensated in some sort of major way. They chose this. This is an option they have. You don’t need to come up with 1 of your usual whacked out scenarios to fix this. No one cares what “you” would do here because as usual, it’s ridiculous

      • golffan1963

        Well stated, David. Walt comes up with some of the strangest theories I can imagine. Last year he had congress poised to do an investigation into the New Year’s Eve College Football Playoff situation. Plus the idea of an NFL game being scheduled for Wednesday night tying into the Rockefeller Tree lighting is ludicrous.

        This isn’t rocket science. NBC has the option to not air a game…they chose that option. No compensation is necessary.

  • HarrySylvester

    Carrie Underwood’s hideous “Sunday Night” theme tune is far more entertaining than most of the games played on Sunday night.

  • C P

    So this means there hasn’t been a single flexed SNF game this season, right? That has to be some sort of record.

  • Jean H Pierre

    I think this makes perfect sense for the league and NBC to not have a bad game on that night. I think they should still do a pre-game show any way to wrap up the season and then we’ll find out the playoff matchups next weekend.

  • So they are showing a rerun of an earlier game, right?

  • Adam Domo

    makes sense. I didnt know this was allowed but yes… NYE..no good game..or no perfect ‘final game’ type game left. it makes sense

  • Bscotch Bscotch

    Maybe they just couldn’t sell the game at a level to make it worth producing and airing.

  • OOS

    One thing the NFL should do immediately is ban the Texans from all future national games. Seriously, have they ever played an interesting game? It is always a snoozefest with no offense and a million shots of JJ Watt – whether he is playing or not. It seems like they always lose 17-10 and the game ends with cameras following JJ as he walks off the field with a bloody nose. The camera angles in their stadium are also weird and make it look like they are playing on an antiseptic soundstage – there seems to be no atmosphere in their stadium. I know they’ll be getting DeShaun Watson back, but until they can prove for a full season that they can be competitive and entertaining, please please please keep them off Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights. They are truly the most boring, uninteresting team in the NFL.

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  • golffan1963

    The author writes: “It means both CBS and Fox will get doubleheaders.” Dude, that happens every year.

  • Bill Cord

    What is wrong with Carrie Underwood? Most Sunday Night Games put you to sleep.