NFL announces it will play two Christmas Day games

The NFL announced it will play two Christmas Day games in 2024, despite the holiday falling on a Wednesday.

The four teams will play on the Saturday of Week 16, giving them four days rest between games. They likely both will be afternoon games, rather than primetime, based on TV ratings from last year.

"Last year, the two highest-rated games on Christmas, the 1 o'clock [ET] game was the highest and then the 4:30 [ET], and then the lowest was really a big matchup going into it with Baltimore and San Francisco, and it was the lowest but it was still really strong with 27 and change million," Hans Schroeder, the league's executive vice president for media distribution, said Tuesday. "But even slight media points like that are helpful."

Before the games were played on Christmas Day last December, Schroeder said playing on Christmas when it fell on a Tuesday or a Wednesday didn't make sense for the league.

But then the NFL saw a 29-percent spike in viewership from Christmas 2022 to Christmas 2023. The three games averaged 28.7 million viewers, with 29.6 million for Raiders-Chiefs, 29.0 million for Giants-Eagles, and 27.6 million for Ravens-49ers.

"That certainly was where are heads were at," Schroeder said of his comments from last December, "but again you look at those numbers. . . . Those were three of our highest-10 regular-season games all year. So, while we certainly go and have a view on anything we do, we also want to be open-minded and take in new data, look at the facts and reconsider, and for us, as we got through Christmas, we looked at the opportunity and really kicked it around.

"We looked at all those different factors and came away saying, 'Hey, this is something we think we can do, and we think we can do it in a way that our fans will really be delighted.' We listened. That's really how it happened."

So, the NFL will play two games on a Wednesday, something NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said will not become a regular practice. NFL games on Christmas Day, though, likely are here to stay, regardless what day of the week it falls.

NFL players, coaches and teams don't like it, but ratings say NFL fans do.