NFL television ratings have gone down drastically over this past season. We are left wondering if it has gotten to the point that the league would actually cancel a primetime telecast. The NFL is at a critical point where they do not want to risk having bad ratings for a game without playoff implications. So, the league has decided to take the bold step of having all Week 17 games with playoff implications begin kickoff at the same time in order to ensure high drama and higher ratings.
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) December 25, 2017
For example, in the AFC, the Ravens, the Bills, the Chargers, and the Titans are all fighting for the wildcard spots. What this means is that the Bengals and Ravens matchup was actually moved from 1 p.m. Eastern time to 4:25 p.m. This is the same exact time that the Raiders and the Chargers will be facing off.
The Jaguars and the Titans game will be moved to 4:25 p.m. as well. So will the Bills and Dolphins game. The NFL is hoping that this will guarantee a lot of viewers all at once.
The Wild Card reported:
In addition to creating more drama, the league also wants to avoid having a situation where, if playoff spots were determined earlier in the afternoon, teams securely heading into the postseason would likely rest players in the Sunday night game, creating an inferior product for fans.
Vice President of broadcasting at NFL, Howard Katz, explained during a press release that they are making it all about the drama.
Katz was quoted saying, “We felt that both from a competitive standpoint and from a fan perspective, the most fair thing to do is to schedule all Week 17 games in either the 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. ET windows. This ensures that we do not have a matchup on ‘Sunday Night Football’ on New Year’s Eve that because of earlier results has no playoff implications for one or both of the competing teams.”
Every single one of the nine games will be having kickoff at 4:25 p.m. This means that fans who have the NFL’s Sunday Ticket or fans who have RedZone programming will be the neighborhoods that everyone wants to visit.
In a weekend packed with terrible games, if viewers can sit through the Lions vs. the Packers and the Texans vs. the Colts, they can just make it to 4:25 for some really good games.
We do not know as of yet just how the NFL is going to be compensating NBC for such a huge loss. Losing their Sunday night game could potentially be crushing to the network.