The NFL is commemorating another national holiday. Check that, it’s a pop culture holiday. So going forward, there could be a Black Friday game on the schedule each season. And the New York Jets are vying to be a permanent host.
Amazon Prime is broadcasting the game this year. The contest features the New York Jets playing host to the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Nothing screams the kick-off of holiday shopping like Amazon. And there are millions of shoppers in the New York/New Jersey area.
It’s all why the NFL is pondering whether to keep the Black Friday game as a permanent spot on the schedule. And the league also is talking about the idea of having one team as the host. Think of the Black Friday game as akin to the Cowboys or Lions hosting a game on Thanksgiving. Detroit football on Thanksgiving has been a league fixture since 1934. Meanwhile, the Cowboys began doing turkey and football on 1966. Both teams draw huge ratings. Dallas generated an audience of 42.1 million when they beat the Giants last November.
If Black Friday game goes permanent, teams are pitching to become annual host
ESPN reported this week that Amazon asked NFL officials to pick a New York team to host the premiere Black Friday game. Mike North, an NFL executive, told reporters that the league also thought about games involving the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants. Instead, that game went to Christmas Day.
North, the VP of broadcast planning, also told reporters that the Bengals wanted the Black Friday game to be played at Paycor Stadium. The opponent would have been a rival like the Steelers or Ravens.
“I hope I’m not speaking out of turn when I mentioned to people that the Bengals volunteered,” North said. “There were others that kind of raised their hands for Black Friday as well.”
But the idea of permanent host started marinating in the minds of Jets executives.
“The Jets, once they found out they were the host team, then started to think about, ‘Hey, is this something we could make a permanent fixture as part of the NFL schedule?'” North said. “Maybe they didn’t raise their hands in February, but now that they have been selected as the Black Friday host, I think they might be interested in it, too.”
North said the league likely won’t make a decision about a permanent host until after they see the fan reaction to a Black Friday game distraction from all the holiday shopping.
“Let’s play one first and let’s see what we learn and let’s see what makes sense and let’s see if it works for our fans,” North said. “I don’t think we were looking on day one to deploy this with a permanent home.
“But it’s certainly something we should talk about. Let’s see what happens this year, let’s see what the fan reaction is to that day. And I’m sure we’ll go back to ownership, we’ll go back to membership and we’ll talk about would we be interested in it. Is that a good idea for the NFL? I’m sure there’s pros and cons to both.”