CNN reported Wednesday that the National Football League made the decision to cancel its upcoming Sunday Night Football game — which also happens to be the last game of the season. Instead, all of the Week 17 games will occur during the daytime.
What’s the background?
The game, which would have aired on New Year’s Eve, would have been the first Sunday night NFL game aired on New Year’s Eve since 2006, when the Green Bay Packers played the Chicago Bears.
The Packers-Bears game lost to “Deal or No Deal” for ratings in the coveted 18-49 demographic that New Year’s Eve.
Ratings showed that the 2006 New Year’s Eve game averaged a 4.7/15 in adults 18-49, just 13.4 million viewers in total.
So what’s going to happen?
Sunday afternoon will see a bevy of games, including seven scheduled for the 1 p.m. ET slot, and nine scheduled for the 4:25 p.m. ET spot.
All games will air on either Fox or CBS.
The final Sunday night football game of the regular season typically features two playoff contenders, but this year’s season has not left Sunday night with many options for must-watch, high-stakes playoff matchups.
Just three playoff slots remain unoccupied: two slots in the AFC, and one wild card slot for the NFC.
What did the NFL say?
NFL Senior Vice President of Broadcasting Howard Katz in a statement defended the decision to cancel the Sunday night game from both a “competitive standpoint” and a “fan perspective.”
“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,” Katz said. “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.”
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) December 25, 2017