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The NFL has traditionally avoided scheduling games on Christmas Day, particularly when the holiday falls on a non-traditional game day such as a Wednesday. However, the league has seen strong viewership during Christmas Day triple-headers in the past, prompting a shift in strategy. NFL VP Mike North emphasized the importance of meeting fan and broadcast partner interest when considering scheduling games on holidays. The league’s decision to schedule games on Christmas Day this year reflects a departure from its previous stance, with two games set to be played as part of a doubleheader.

Although the teams for the Christmas Day games have yet to be determined, NFL EVP for Media Distribution Hans Schroeder confirmed that the league will be hosting two games on that day. Last year, Christmas Day featured three games, including matchups between the Baltimore Ravens-San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants-Philadelphia Eagles, and Las Vegas Raiders-Kansas City Chiefs. This year’s games will mark the 31st and 32nd NFL games played on Christmas Day to date, highlighting the league’s increasing presence on the holiday calendar.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell clarified that scheduling games on Wednesdays will not become a regular occurrence, except when Christmas falls on that day. The upcoming Christmas game will only be the third time in the last 75 years that an NFL game is played on a Wednesday. The league had previously scheduled a Wednesday game between the Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers due to unexpected COVID-19 issues. Teams chosen for the Christmas Day game will play their Week 16 game on Saturday, Dec. 21, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal.

Looking ahead, Christmas in 2025 is set to fall on a Thursday, with the holiday not landing on a Tuesday or Wednesday again until 2029. The NFL’s decision to schedule games on Christmas Day reflects its willingness to adapt to fan interest and maximize viewership during the holiday season. This shift in strategy aligns with the league’s goal of expanding its presence on various holiday calendars, in addition to its traditional dominance on Thanksgiving Day. As the NFL continues to evolve its scheduling practices, fans can expect more games on special occasions like Christmas in the future.

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