The NFL will make festive history this year as they'll hold three games on Christmas Day, with December 25 being a Sunday in 2022. The league is no stranger to holding gridiron games on Christmas Day, with matches taking place the last two years on December 25. With the day falling on a Sunday in 2022, the NFL is jumping on the chance to entertain a captive audience but putting on a triple-header of games similar to its Thanksgiving Day schedule.
The full 2022 NFL schedule will be released on May 12, and vice-president of broadcasting Mike North said the league would be scheduling the first ever Christmas Day triple-header this season.
Three Christmas Day NFL games
"If Christmas falls on a Sunday, it makes perfect sense," North told Sal Capaccio on WGR radio. "When Christmas falls on an NFL game day, we've had a lot of success there. Our fans are telling us, we know they watch on Thanksgiving, they're happy to watch on Christmas, too." Week 16 will be a festive extravaganza for NFL fans, with the usual Thursday Night Football game going ahead on December 22, before the majority of the slate is moved from Sunday to Saturday December 24. Then, following a bumper Christmas Eve, there will be two afternoon games on Christmas Day followed by a primetime fixture in the evening.
Just for good measure, there will also be a Monday Night Football game on Boxing Day. "When we get to Sunday, Christmas Day, we'll have a triple-header," North added. "We'll play one game on CBS in the afternoon, one game on Fox in the afternoon, and our regular Sunday night game on NBC."
NFL muscles in on NBA territory
In 2020, the Indianapolis Colts beat the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Day in front of average audience on 12.6 million on NFL Network - their second-largest viewing figures in history. On December 25 last year, Green Bay's tight win over Cleveland drew a whopping 28.6 million viewers on Fox - making it the third most-watched game of the regular season.
— NFL (@NFL) December 25, 2021
There have been 24 NFL games played on Christmas Day, but they didn't start holding regular season games until 1989, and held the first Sunday Christmas Day game in 1994. The league is muscling in on the NBA's territory as basketball has been the Christmas Day sport of choice recently with the league playing five games on December 25 for the last 14 years. To win the battle for eyeballs, the NFL are sure to try and pick out some top fixtures for the Christmas schedule, with the December 25 games set to be released during the week of May 9 ahead of the full schedule.
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