The 2022 playoffs have been the subject of much discussion about the possibility of neutral-site conference championship games. Even though many fans – and at least one owner – hate the idea, it’s definitely in play for the future.
There’s another idea that’s definitely gaining traction among NFL power brokers. Instead of tying up the two conference championship games in one day, the two games could be split over two days, Sunday and Monday.
Fans who took a Twitter poll about the possibility I dont like him at all. But, again, that won’t stop the league from doing it, if the league sees value in it.
And there could indeed be value. Currently, one game ends and the next begins. Monday morning, one of the two games dominates the conversation. By dividing them into two days, the focus could be on one game, before attention shifts to the next. The NFL would dominate the sports conversation all day Sunday, all day Monday, all day Tuesday.
With a two-week break before the Super Bowl, the team that wins Monday night will face no disadvantage when it comes to game preparation. And that would give the two teams playing Monday an extra day to prepare.
It’s something the league should do if the Chargers and Rams or the Jets and Giants hold a conference championship in the same playoff cycle. The league may decide not to wait for these planets to align; he can decide to give it a try.
Again, fans wouldn’t like that. But what would they do about it? Do not watch? Do not attend?
I had assumed it would be a Sunday night and Monday night arrangement. A source with a finger on the league’s pulse when asked about the possibility quickly responded by saying Sunday’s game could be played at 4:00 p.m. ET, with Monday’s game starting around a normal Monday night. Thu – 8:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET.
The response made it clear that the folks at the league office considered the possibility.
Frankly, this year’s game is too good to be played back-to-back. I would like a full day to prep, watch and process the 49ers-Eagles before doing the same for the Bengals-Chiefs. As it stands, once the NFC Championship is over, it will be time to immediately switch to the AFC game. And, again, one of the two will dominate the conversation on Monday, while the other will be overlooked.
As it was (and is) with the possibility of neutral venue league games, splitting them into two days becomes a simple way to improve the overall experience without increasing the expense a penny. And it would bring more value to the network that televises every game, especially on Sundays — when a sizable audience can be delivered to the next lineup when, depending on the current schedule, the channels immediately switch to the network showing the second game.
For both games, there would be a longer pre-game and a longer post-game. More attention. More talks. Plus everything. Two days to immerse yourself in football, rather than one.
Generally, we don’t like change. But some changes end up being for the better.
Over the years, the NFL has changed playoff game schedules. In 2002, the conference championships were moved to later in the day. In 2021, the NFL added a wildcard game on Monday nights.
As Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said when asked about the inherent disadvantage of playing in Tampa on Monday and playing in California on Sunday when the 49ers had two extra days to prepare, «television is queen».
King TV would probably support it. This year in particular, I definitely would.