The 2023 NFL season is almost upon us, with the league having recently released the upcoming schedule for each team. Each team already knew who they would be playing, but now they have the full picture in terms of where and when.
Fans are also able to have a clearer understanding and get a better idea of planning, especially those that want to be able to attend the games they want and cheer on their team in the hope of seeing them get to the Super Bowl.
When does the NFL Season start?
The first game of the upcoming 2023 NFL season will take place on September 7, with the opening fixture being between the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Detroit Lions in the NFL Kickoff Game.
From that point onwards, fans will be able to get back into the rhythm of the American football season as games will come thick and fast. There will be matches played on Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays.
The 2023 NFL Season will be a Little Different
The upcoming season – from a scheduling standpoint – is a little different, though, in comparison to previous years gone by. There have been a total of five changes to have been made, with each of these designed to help the overall product of the NFL.
1. Flex Scheduling Has Been Expanded
A first for the NFL schedule, games that are played in the “Monday Night Football” slot are now available to be flexed to a point later in the season. Previously, the only games that were being subject to flexing was those on Sunday that could then be moved to the “Sunday Night Football” primetime viewing slot. However, the new change will mean Mondays are now a possibility, too. This will only begin in Week 13 but will continue until Week 17.
2. Christmas Day Tripleheader on a Monday
While NFL fans are used to watching three games be played on Christmas Day, as they managed to enjoy the festivities with three games last season, this year’s holiday will also see a tripleheader be played; the first time it will have happened on a Monday. Interestingly, the three matches set to be played on December 25 feature two of the favorites for the Super Bowl LVIII title. The Kansas City Chiefs are favorites, according to the latest NFL odds, to retain their crown. They will face the Las Vegas Raiders in an AFC West showdown in the second game of the slot at Arrowhead Stadium, while the Philadelphia Eagles – second favorite – will face off against NFC East rivals, the New York Giants, in the final game of the day at Lincoln Financial Field. The first game will be played at Mile High as the Denver Broncos host the New England Patriots.
3. Black Friday will have an NFL Game
For the first time ever, the NFL will have a game be played on Black Friday, too. The Thanksgiving schedule will still remain as three matches will be played to celebrate the American holiday, but an additional game will be played on the day after. This year, we will be able to witness the AFC East showdown between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. The game will be streamed live to audiences in America through Amazon Prime.
4. More Thursday Night Football Games for teams
Earlier in the year, NFL owners approved a change to the rule regarding Thursday Night Football matches. Previously, teams were only able to play one in a short week, but now they are able to play more. These games will also be streamed by Amazon Prime.
5. Network Designations Have Ended
Fans in America will have typically had a good idea about what network their team would be broadcast on if they were unable to go to the game. FOX would typically air the games that involved NFC teams, while CBS would have the AFC teams. If an NFC team were to host an AFC team, CBS would get the game, while FOX would get it if an AFC team hosted a contest. Now, that appears to have been disbanded, as the networks will now share duties, regardless of the teams being played.
Will the changes be effective?
With the changes outlined above in mind, it would be easy to assume that there will be success. The fact that there are games being played on new dates in the calendar may appeal to audiences, as it gives them an opportunity to enjoy “more” football, despite no additional games being added to the schedule.
Some may disagree with the changes to the flex scheduling, while others may find the lack of network designations a little frustrating, but there should not be too many problems in this regard; just a little bit of getting used to.