Attention east coast football fans – the NFL has heard your complaints about primetime games starting too late, and the league has done something about it: moved kickoff times up between five and 15 minutes.
Per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Monday Night Football will slide up 15 minutes from 8:30 p.m. ET to 8:15, Sunday Night Football will move from 8:30 to 8:20, and Thursday Night Football will jump from 8:25 to 8:20.
Good news for east coast NFL fans: All primetime games this year are starting earlier this season, per a league source (all times Eastern):
MNF: 8:15 kickoff (up from 8:30)
SNF: 8:20 kickoff (from 8:30)
TNF: 8:20 kickoff (from 8:25)
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) April 18, 2018
Yep, that’s a total of 30 minutes total across the three games. Now kids will be able to stay up not only through the end of the second quarter but also through the first block of the halftime show, while adults will be able to get five and a half hours of sleep on Monday nights instead of five and a quarter. What a treat!
Sarcasm aside, we should note that the NFL didn’t have to do anything here. The league could have kept times exactly where they were and simply let east coasters continue screaming into the void. Instead they made a change that, while extremely modest, is at least somewhat helpful. For people trying to get all the sleep they can, 10 extra minutes is better than nothing.
Ultimately, there’s no perfect answer when it comes to kickoff times. If you begin a game before 8 p.m. ET on a weekday, people on the west coast who work until 5 or 6 will complain about missing most or all of the first half. In a country as wide as this one, there is simply no pleasing everyone. And yes you could shorten games by having fewer commercial breaks, thereby letting everyone see more football, but that’s not gonna happen anytime soon.
That means as long as time zones are structured as they are currently, the west coast will miss the beginning of games, the east coast will miss the end of them, and the central and mountain regions will simply kick back and laugh.