Though Peter King cast doubt on the odds of the NFL releasing its schedule Thursday, the league announced Monday afternoon the 2023 schedule will be released that night, though we know leaks are always announced beforehand. One new aspect of the schedule is the first ever Black Friday game that will occur the day after Thanksgiving.
That was made known by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who tweeted a list of scheduling quirks this year.
There’s no word on which team will play that special Friday game. But it seems like there will be a fourth marquee game around the holiday. There will still be the standard three on Thanksgiving, a noon game, an afternoon game, and a night game.
According to the NFL’s official press release, the game will be announced a day early on May 10th along with the International Games. So we’ll find out that game before the rest of the schedule drops a day later.
As we wrote about yesterday, the Steelers last played on Thanksgiving back in 2016. But they’re always a draw and there’s the potential for Pittsburgh to be part of one of those four.
Though rare, there are instances of the league playing Friday games. The last one occurred in 2020, a Christmas Day game between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings. Alvina Kamara found the end zone six times in a 52-33 Saints’ victory. The prior instance came in 2009, also Christmas Day, between the Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers.
There was also a 2005 Friday game played between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins that wasn’t originally scheduled. It was moved due to Hurricane Wilma and the Chiefs came out on top 30-20.
Friday games were a common occurrence until 1970 when the AFL/NFL merger created a more modern football schedule. Now they will return for Black Friday as the NFL continues to find ways to fill up the calendar. It’s only a matter of time before they’re playing games the rest of the week, too.
The league will officially announce the 2023 complete schedule on Thursday, May 11th at 8 PM/EST on NFL Network. We’ll have an updating thread with all the leaks and announcements throughout the day.