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Late-Season broadcasting adjustments for 2022-'23 I could see


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In light of a few factors:

I’m suspecting this will be the only season ESPN gets a Saturday doubleheader in Week 18. I’m sure NBC was not happy about this potentially affecting what game NBC gets for SNF the final night, and I suspect Comcast (NBC’s parent) will ask that part of the deal be re-done so all games on the final week are on Sunday:

In 2022-’23 Christmas falls on a Sunday. Unlike past Christmases, this time I think we see the normal Sunday schedule shifted this time to MONDAY 12/26 (observed holiday for Christmas Day) instead of Christmas Eve and it be done where ESPN/ABC gets the flex (instead of NBC) for what likely would be the final Monday night game of the 2022-’23 season. As New Year’s Day in 2023 also falls on a Sunday, it means that Monday (January 2) is the observed holiday with the Rose and Sugar Bowls traditionally played in the evening east coast time on the observed holiday. In light of the likelihood the Tournament of Roses and Sugar Bowl Committees will insist on their bowl games being played in their traditional slots (5:00 and 8:45 PM ET) on January 2, that likely means Week 17 next year will have ALL of its games played on New Year’s Day with no Monday night NFL game. Given I also think we will go back to that for Week 18 next year being entirely on Sunday at the behest of NBC (unless the NFL were to add another week to the schedule with a second bye week for ALL teams, most likely if so that new bye week tied to mid-week games with a new Week 19 being all games in one conference at 3:00 PM and the other at 8:15 PM with all games divided up between ALL of the broadcast partners), how I see this being played out:

Week 15: ESPN gets a Friday night (12/16) game in lieu of the Week 17 Monday night game (same 8:15 PM ET start time). This game would be between teams who normally would play on Thursday otherwise, while the Thursday night (12/15) game that week on Amazon Prime (where all Thursday night games will be in 2022-'23) is between teams who had a bye in Week 14.

Week 16: One of two scenarios happen with ESPN getting EITHER:

A second Friday night (12/23) game (again, 8:15 PM ET) between teams who played Thursday, Friday or Saturday in Week 15 in this scenario and one game on Christmas Eve, the Christmas Eve game most likely with a 4:30 PM ET kickoff ahead of the Hawaii Bowl that has been played Christmas Eve night in recent years


Two games on Christmas Eve with kickoffs at 2:00 and 5:45 PM ET, allowing for both games to be in the west if need be.

Either of these scenarios would be in lieu of the Week 18 doubleheader ESPN has this season so NBC is best assured getting the best game for Sunday night on the final week of the season like it had been before this season..

And as powerful as the NFL is, the Tournament of Roses and Sugar Bowl committees have a ton of power with their TV contracts with ESPN AND likely backed by elected officials, especially from areas where college football is actually bigger than the NFL.  As it is, the reason the College Football Playoff semifinals UNLESS the are the Rose and Sugar Bowls are on New Year's Eve is because the Rose and Sugar Bowls have that much clout to where they won't move off New Year's Day/Night.  I suspect they won't do it for the NFL either and coupled with Comcast likely unhappy with the Saturday night games this season in Week 18 is why I suspect a compromise where next and likely the following season ESPN gets a Friday night game in Week 15 in place of a Week 17 Monday nighter AND gets next season either scenario noted in Week 16 and after next season a Saturday doubleheader in Week 16. 

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