With 2022 European games, NFL fully embraces Sunday morning window

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Seattle residents aren’t thrilled that their home team will play a game against the Buccaneers in Germany which starts at 6:30 a.m. PT. But that’s what happens when the NFL becomes determined to increase the number of windows for NFL games.

The four European games of 2022 take place this year at 9:30 a.m. ET / 6:30 a.m. PT, an unprecedented number of Sunday mornings dedicated to football – not football-talking pre-match shows. While these shows will continue, most football fans will choose to watch, you know, football games.

It is not a surprise. The continued growth of legalized betting and the inevitable deployment of technology to allow real-time betting before each game of a given game will require the NFL to spread out games on any given weekend as much as possible. That’s why Monday doubleheaders could eventually become commonplace. Ditto for the matches on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

Ideally, the league would play one game at a time. It will be virtually impossible, however, to pull this off.

The NFL may, however, expand the current number of windows per week (five) to something more than that, with one on Thursday, four on Sunday, two on Monday, one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. That’s nine weekly windows for up to 16 matches. Add in the bye weeks and there wouldn’t be many simulcasts in the Sunday afternoon windows.

And don’t forget about the seemingly inevitable Black Friday game at Amazon. With the broadcast antitrust exemption not compromised unless and until games are played after 6:00 p.m. ET on Fridays, the league could adopt a national weekly “Football Friday” broadcast, with the game starting at 2:00 p.m. HE, and that people watch (and bet on) at work or school or anywhere on their phone.

At the end of the line ? A league that has already found a way to cram as much cheese into the pizza as possible will be looking for more nooks and crannies. The decision to cram four Sunday games into an early-season window — even though Seattle folks will have to get up super early to watch — underscores a commitment to spreading out weekly games as much as possible.

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