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.
The NFL announced there will not be a Sunday night game next week.
The last time the NFL regular season didn't end with a night game was 1977 – the last season under the 14-game schedule
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 25, 2017
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.