Why do the Bears play two Thursday night games this season? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Bears already played Thursday Night Football against the Washington Commanders earlier this season?
Why are they playing again on Thursday night again this week against the Carolina Panthers?
In short, it's because they can. The NFL enacted a new rule ahead of this season that teams can now play up to two Thursday Night Football games.
It states in the rules Thursday night games --- and Sunday and Monday night --- are reserved for "marquee matchups."
"The NFL's marquee matchups often are scheduled to air during the week’s premier time slots — Thursday, Sunday, or Monday nights or the late game on Sunday afternoons. The league typically schedules the Super Bowl champion at home for the Thursday night game that kicks off the new season," it states in NFL Football Operations.
The caveat to scheduling Thursday Night Football games is they cannot be switched during the season. The NFL proposed a rule to allow for originally scheduled Thursday night games for rescheduling. But it didn't take.
There are too many obstacles. Conflicts arise with fan attendance and fairness to teams who are flexed into Thursday night and those who are moved to Sunday, or a different time.
The NFL thought the Bears would make for an interesting matchup. In fairness, they guessed correctly with this upcoming game. It's a matchup between the quarterback the Bears opted to keep --- Justin Fields --- versus the one they could've selected --- Bryce Young --- had they not traded the No. 1 pick to the Panthers ahead of the 2023 NFL draft.
Why did they choose the Bears to play the Commanders on Thursday night earlier this season? I have no clue.