Jan 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) walks off the field after throwing an interception to Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Sione Takitaki (not pictured) in the fourth quarter of an AFC Wild Card playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the NFL added two more Wild Card games to the playoffs to turn the opening weekend into a “Super Wild Card Weekend” format that includes six total games. The ratings didn’t bear out the assumed interest in the expanded playoff schedule and it was notable that the first game of the weekend at 1 p.m. EST on Saturday was the least-watched as well.

Perhaps that’s what’s behind NFL insider Ian Rapoport’s tweet on Thursday that the league is planning to push that early Saturday game to Monday night instead, making it a three-day playoff weekend.

It might indeed be a “fun change” for viewers as Rapoport says, but the immediate reaction from a lot of people was a concern for the team that wins on Monday night and has to turn around on a short schedule to play a road game against a high seed the following weekend.

It’s entirely possible that a team could play Monday and have to play on Saturday, and that does not bode well for their chances. It’s true that such is life for a Wild Card team and the deck is already stacked against you, but that’s potentially adding one more disadvantage to the mix for the sake of ratings.

Ultimately, if the league thinks it’s going to get more eyeballs and excite their broadcasting partners more, it’s almost certainly going to happen. And there are certainly plenty of people who see the benefits of another primetime playoff game instead of one that much of the country has to start watching in the morning.

This also isn’t new to NFL fans as NBC Sports’ Peter King talked about this possibility all the way back in February, saying a Monday Wild Card game was “somewhere between 50-50 and very likely.” He noted at the time that the league didn’t consider it in 2020 because it would have directly competed with college football’s national championship game. However, since the NFL added a 17th game this season, they won’t run into a scheduling conflict this time around.

We now wait for the NFL to make the official announcement about the change.

[Ian Rapoport]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.