The NFL canceled “Sunday Night Football” this week, fearing that an 8 p.m. game on New Year’s Eve would take a hit in the ratings.
The final Sunday night slot is typically reserved for a consequential game between two playoff contenders, but none of this year’s Week 17 match-ups fit the bill. The lack of an exciting, primetime-friendly game combined with the timing of the holiday means the NFL is sparing itself the low ratings it would suffer by scheduling an 8 p.m. kickoff.
Instead, seven games are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. and nine at 4:25 p.m. All games will be broadcast on CBS or FOX.
“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,” NFL’s Howard Katz said in a statement. “This ensures that we do not have a matchFootball on New Year’s Eve that because of earlier results has no playoff implications for one or both of the competing teams.”
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) December 25, 2017