September 30, 2022

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Sports Really Satisfies

NFL schedule 2022: NFL working on deal to play Black Friday game as early as this season, per report

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Getty’s Rick Graessle

The NFL has entrenched itself on Thanksgiving Day with games for decades and appear set to add another game to the holiday weekend. In Peter King’s Football Morning In America column, NFL owners passed a resolution to give two more teams a second game on a short week — which could start as early as this season. 

The idea is for the game to be played on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that is known in the retail world as the busiest shopping day of the year (and the unofficial start of Christmas holiday shopping season). Many Americans are typically off on Black Friday to extend the holiday weekend, which gives the NFL some investment in scheduling a game on that day. 

If the league does play a Black Friday game in 2022, there will be some competition with the United States in the World Cup. The U.S. is slated to host England at 2 p.m. ET on Black Friday in Qatar, which is a highly-anticipated event on the sports calendar. There is also some pushback to have the game on Black Friday as early as this season, which may mean a delay in having the holiday game by a year. 

Two (or potentially three) teams may also be playing three games a season on short rest, something the league will have to work out. The Black Friday game will likely be scheduled in the afternoon, as the NFL can not broadcast games on Friday nights from September through November as part of its antitrust exception.

The NFL has played games on Fridays, but they have been played on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day since 1999. The league did have a pair of Friday games on New Years Eve in 1993, which was also a holiday. The least time the NFL played games on a Friday that wasn’t on a holiday was in 1986, six days before Christmas on Dec. 19. 

Friday games were a fixture on the AFL schedule in the 1960s, with the league playing the last November Friday game in 1964 between the Boston Patriots and Denver Broncos. That game on Nov. 20 was six days before Thanksgiving. The last game played on Black Friday was between the Patriots and Buffalo Bills on Nov. 23, 1962. 

The last time the NFL played a game on a Friday that wasn’t in December was when the Los Angeles Rams played the St. Louis Cardinals to open the season on Sept. 18, 1970 — a game that started at 11 p.m. ET. The league is certainly entering new territory with a Black Friday game if it happens this season.