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Football fans will be unwrapping a big present from the NFL this Christmas.
For the first time ever, the league will stage three games on December 25. CBS and Fox will each air an afternoon game, and a primetime matchup will follow on NBC.
Christmas Day is a Sunday in 2022; while the holiday has traditionally been left to basketball, the NFL will capitalize on the way the calendar falls this year, as revealed during a podcast on which the league’s vice president of broadcasting was a guest.
“Christmas, when it falls on an NFL game day, we’ve had a lot of success there, all due respect to our friends at the NBA. It is something that our friends are interested in,” Mike North said. “If Christmas falls on a Sunday, it makes perfect sense.”
The bulk of the Week 16 schedule will take place on Saturday, December 24, including a Saturday night game on Christmas Eve. This will mark the third year in a row the NFL has been active on Christmas Day.
It’s not known yet which teams will play in the yuletide tripleheader. The matchups will reportedly be announced the week of May 9, just before the release of the entire 2022 schedule on May 12.
While football in Dallas on Thanksgiving has become a key component of that particular holiday’s tradition, December 25 has not historically brought a lot of glad tidings to Cowboys fans, at least in this century.
The team is 2-3 all-time on Christmas Day. They won their first two Christmas games: a 20-12 victory in 1971’s playoff meeting with Minnesota and a 37-13 beatdown of Arizona in their 1995 outing in the desert. But the last three Christmas contests have been rather grinchy for America’s Team: a 31-0 shutout at the hands of the Titans in 2000, a 23-7 loss to Philadelphia in 2006 (the only time the Cowboys have been home for Christmas), and a 27-26 loss to the Cardinals in 2010.