HomeSportsNFLNFL schedule maker reveals Bengals lobbied for permanent Black Friday game slot

NFL schedule maker reveals Bengals lobbied for permanent Black Friday game slot

by Nick Schultz
Paycor Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals
Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Every year, the NFL has two teams — the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys — host games on Thanksgiving. As the league prepares to play games on Black Friday for the first time ever, one team wanted to host the game each season, according to NFL vice president for broadcast planning Mike North.

The Cincinnati Bengals made their case to be the permanent host of the Black Friday matchup, but the NFL opted to go another direction. This year’s game will feature the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, although North said the NFL also considered the Bengals vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers for that day.

He added the idea might not entirely be off the table, though.

“The Cincinnati Bengals actually raised their hand and volunteered and said, ‘We’d be happy to host the first Black Friday game,'” North said, via ESPN’s Ben Baby. “‘In fact, we’d be happy to make this a tradition. How about Black Friday in Cincinnati every year?’ I’m sure that will be something we explore moving forward.”

The game will be broadcast on Prime Video, and Amazon weighed in on which teams play in that game. The company reached out to the NFL and expressed interest in having one of the New York teams — the Giants or the Jets — play that night. Since New York is the largest city in the country and the No. 1 retail market, Amazon thought it would be a “fun way” to introduce the Black Friday game, Baby reported.

NFL schedule release: Jets see major increase in primetime games after Aaron Rodgers trade

Instead of seeing one of the best rivalries in the game in Bengals vs. Steelers, fans will get to watch the new-look Jets face off against the Dolphins. There’s — understandably — been plenty of buzz around New York this offseason as they traded for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. As a result, they’re getting plenty of primetime love.

The Jets are getting five primetime games this year, including a Week 1 Monday Night Football showdown against the Buffalo Bills. That’s the first of two MNF appearances, with the second one coming Nov. 6 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Plus, the Jets are only going to be on Thursday Night Football once, and that doesn’t come until Week 17 against the Cleveland Browns.

To put it in perspective, New York only played in primetime once with Zach Wilson as its quarterback. It’s all part of the Aaron Rodgers effect, apparently.