Awful Announcing has learned that the NFL is considering a tripleheader of NFL Network games on December 21, the Saturday before Christmas. As per a source, the league currently plans to air three games on NFL Network that day.
There’s no indication yet of if these games would be exclusive to NFL Network or simulcast on other broadcast partners, and there’s no indication of what teams and timeslots would be involved. But this would seem to be a reasonably logical play for the league. They’ve previously scheduled Saturday doubleheaders on NFL Network around Christmas, including doing so in each of the two weeks before Christmas last year.
Last season, the Dec. 15 games saw the Houston Texans beat the New York Jets 29-22 and the Cleveland Browns edge the Denver Broncos 22-21, while the Dec. 22 contests saw the Tennessee Titans down the the Washington Redskins 25-16 and the Baltimore Ravens beat the Los Angeles Chargers 22-10. Those games also saw some unusual announcing teams, with Curt Menefee, Nate Burleson and Steve Mariucci calling two games (with Melissa Stark as a sideline reporter) and Mike Tirico and Kurt Warner calling the other two (with Peter Schrager as a sideline reporter).
With a midweek Christmas Day this year, Dec. 21 should see a lot of people already in vacation mode. But there shouldn’t be a lot of premier sports competition on that day, beyond some minor college football bowls and some NBA and NHL games. So dialing up the NFL Network pre-Christmas Saturday content beyond even last year’s doubleheaders may make sense.
This plan would also provide yet another national window for the league to take advantage of, and one that more people may watch than the super-early games in Europe. And if this works out, it might even spawn a new tradition; after all, the Thanksgiving tripleheader is commonplace now, and that used to only be a doubleheader. But the league declined to comment at this point, and there’s always a chance they back off of this plan.