Nothing says late season football like a couple of Saturday NFL games, which we’ll get early in Week 15 on Dec. 16. The NFL Network will carry both games, which feature Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions hosting the Chicago Bears late in the afternoon, followed by an evening shootout in Kansas City between the hometown Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers. A pair of Saturday games will also be played next weekend.
Saturday NFL action is undertaken after the regular college football season is over, and before the biggest bowl games are played. The NFL is not allowed to schedule games during the regular college football season on Fridays or Saturdays. The late season, however, is open season.
Traditionally, Saturday games were played during the day, but eventually one was moved to prime time and remains there now. In 2008, when the NFL Network stepped up it’s Thursday night schedule, all that was left for Saturday was the Saturday evening game, at least for those on the East Coast. Eventually they got back to two Saturday games.
Although the ratings may not show it, serious football fans love Saturday NFL action, including those addicted to college football. Yes, we’ll have the start of the bowl season that same day, but we’ll also have some serious pro action as well. Consider it a tuneup for the postseason in January when the wild card and divisional rounds feature both Saturday and Sunday games.
When we talk Saturday football, at least in terms of the NFL, the topic always comes around to holding the Super Bowl on a Saturday. How cool would it be to go out on a Saturday night to a club, a party or just stay up late and watch the biggest football game of the year? True football fans drool over it.
However, it will never happen because the Super Bowl, and often the NFL, are not solely about their hardiest fans, but about making new ones and, of course, making money. You’ll just never see the Super Bowl pried away from a time slot that lends itself to so many millions of people who might not otherwise watch the game. Sunday night, after all, is television’s biggest night in terms of the number of viewers.
Still, big-time Saturday night games are holding their own. College football continuously holds some of their more prominent games during prime time. November was full of major conference rivalry games and conference leaders squaring off in prime-time on Saturday night. But, that’s about as far as it goes. Even college football’s championship game is held on a Monday night.
For the time being, fans are left to enjoy the Saturday football that is available to them.