The NFL will play two games on Christmas Day on a Wednesday in 2024
The NFL will play two games on Christmas Day on a Wednesday in 2024

NFL games on Christmas remain the gift that keeps on giving for the league, and that will continue in 2024 with two games even though the holiday falls on a Wednesday, it was announced.

The fixtures for the games, which will feature teams playing the previous Saturday to account for the recovery window, have yet to be determined.

“When we saw the viewership this past year, our fans really spoke,” said Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s executive vice president of media distribution. “We’ve certainly seen and believe they really enjoy and want NFL football on Christmas.”

The NFL played three games on Christmas Day 2023, with the Baltimore Ravens-San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants-Philadelphia Eagles and Las Vegas Raiders-Kansas City Chiefs all played on Monday.

The Christmas Day games generated huge television ratings, with ESPN’s Ravens-49ers telecast drawing more than 27.2 million viewers, making it the second-most-watched Monday Night Football game since 1996.

“From what we’ve seen over the last few years, there’s really been unprecedented growth, and not just at Christmas, but at Thanksgiving,” Schroeder said. “The last few years we’ve had the most watched game of the regular season. That mindset, that opportunity, that belief that we have that football brings people together – that’s even truer at these big holidays that happen throughout the year.”

Wednesday games are rare. The last time a game was played on a Wednesday was in 2021, when an outbreak of COVID-19 forced the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers to postpone their scheduled Thanksgiving game until the following Wednesday.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday games “will not be business as usual” and that the league has not seen an increase in the number of injuries from midweek games.

“Well, I think the days are the same for us. We did that,” Goodell said of the four-day window, which will be similar to teams playing Thursday after playing the previous Sunday. “In fact, COVID was a learning opportunity. I think it was the first time we played on a Wednesday…but the time period between games has been done before.

“We haven’t seen any increase in injuries. All of you and we had a big focus on Thursday night when we first put it on and we haven’t seen any increase in injuries yet. So I think we have that down.”

Overall, the league has had 30 games on Christmas Day since the NFL held two divisional playoff games on December 25, 1971. As of 2020, nine games have been played on the holiday.

This will be the fifth straight season the NFL has played on Christmas Day, entering a sports day usually dominated by the NBA.

In 2024, the NFL schedule calls for the league to be off only on Tuesdays.

The league holds games each week on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, with some late-season contests taking place on Saturdays. A Black Friday game was introduced last year and will continue into 2024, and a Week 1 game in Brazil will also take place on Friday.

Field Level Media contributed to this report.

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