Fans of the NFL should be ready for more weekly “Monday Night Football” when the playoffs start in January.
The NFL announced last week that it would expand “MNF” to two games per week for the conference championship round, but there was no real timetable for when games might air on cable TV after that.
Fans learned in Sunday’s game that part of those plans may be implemented during the upcoming NFL season. The NFL plans to double the total number of “Sunday Night Football” games this year from six to 12, with the show airing on NBC on just two out of the first four weeks. The schedule for those games has not been released, but the show has aired Sundays on NBC since 2006.
However, next Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots will actually be the first to air on the league’s much-hyped “Sunday Night Football” package. The show will, of course, premiere that night as the Buffalo Bills take on the New England Patriots.
This game is also the latest that a National Football League team has landed a prime-time appearance. Buffalo also played a night game on the Thursday Night Football package in September 2017.
But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he hoped to see the number of Sunday Night Football games extended beyond 2018. “I think it will enhance the attractiveness of the broadcast package, certainly. And I know that the NBC Sunday night games are very attractive on our digital platforms as well, and I think when they reach that point of completion we will extend it,” Goodell said.
This “Sunday Night Football” weekend also marks the end of the short-lived “Thursday Night Football” contract with ESPN, which became a talking point earlier this year after criticism of what some called a needless prime-time game. ESPN will re-air Thursday night games over the next few days.
The Patriots and Bills will play at Gillette Stadium at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC. The “Sunday Night Football” game will air at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC, also in prime time.
The next two games in the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” will air a week later, on 28 August.