Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Number of Primetime Appearances Per Team for the 2022 Season

Here are each team’s current number of appearances across the league’s three major primetime packages on NBC, ESPN, and Amazon Prime Video for the season, useful for determining what games can be flexed into or out of Sunday night for my Flex Schedule Watch. Recall the appearance limits are six primetime games for three teams, five for everyone else, and four NBC appearances, three of which can be scheduled before the season starts; while the new TV deals taking full effect next year include a seventh primetime appearance for each team, several features following this year’s schedule release indicated that for this year, teams are considered “maxed out” after five primetime appearances scheduled before the season. This also means that, since the Packers last year were scheduled for six primetime appearances if you counted their Christmas Day game against the Browns on Fox and NFL Network, and coupled with evidence from seasons past that international games in the late morning window don’t count towards primetime appearances, I’m only counting actual primetime appearances for each team, and not counting any appearances on NFL Network for international or Saturday games, though I am counting the NFLN game the night of Christmas Eve. In the “Flexible” column, a plus sign indicates SNF games in the Week 5-10 early flex period. Note that despite Christmas falling on a Sunday and therefore not able to be flexed, NBC’s press release indicates that the late flex period starts Week 11 this year, not Week 10 as in past years when the Week 16 Sunday night game was rendered unable to be flexed due to Christmas; the Chargers and Niners have an asterisk in their Flexible column in case that’s a typo.

Team PT App’s On NBC Flexible
TB 5 3 0
DAL 5 3 1+1
GB 5 3 1+1
KC 5 3 1+1
BUF 5 2 0+1
SF 5 2 0+1*
LAR 5 2 1
DEN 5 2 1
NE 5 2 1
CIN 5 2 1+1
PHI 5 2 1+1
LAC 5 2 1+1*
PIT 5* 2 1+1
ARI 4 1 0
TEN 4 1 0+1
IND 4 1 1
LV 4* 1 1
CHI 3 1 0
BAL 3 1 0+1
NO 3 0 0
MIA 2 1 0+1
MIN 2 1 0
SEA 2 0 0
CLE 2 0 0
WAS 2 0 0
DET 0 0 0
All others 1 0 0

3 thoughts on “Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Number of Primetime Appearances Per Team for the 2022 Season

  1. One thing I do think the NFL should have considered was instead of playing a full schedule on Christmas Eve (Saturday 12/24), the NFL did that on MONDAY (12/26) which because Christmas falls on a Sunday is the LEGAL holiday for Christmas and most people have that day off.

    The main reason I suspect that did not happen was the fact there IS a Week 17 Thursday nighter on Amazon Prime (Cowboys at Titans) that might very well have prevented having most of the games on Monday as whoever was scheduled for that Thursday night would have had to play Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Perhaps in future years one of the London games can be on Black Friday with a 2:00 PM ET/7:00 PM local kickoff that can be done on Amazon Prime in place of the Week 17 Thursday nighter that falls in the middle of college football bowl season. I also suspect the NFL didn’t try to put additional games on Monday 12/26 because even though the NFL is the 800-pound gorilla of sports AND it’s legal holiday for Christmas, the station managers of many FOX affiliates would have vehemently objected here due to contractual commitments with weekday syndicated programming that already for many such affiliates is going to be pre-empted several times during November and December for matches in the 2022 World Cup (this normally would not be an issue because the World Cup occurs after most such shows go into repeats for the summer, but even though that Monday would also likely be repeats, that entire week for many such shows will likely be re-airs of shows that were pre-empted by many FOX stations during the World Cup). I would have gone Monday 12/26 with most games to have a rare Monday Night flex for ESPN/ABC in where they and NOT NBC would have had the flex that week with the bulk of games on Monday.

    Also was very surprised there is going to be a Monday night game on January 2, which is the LEGAL holiday for New Year’s Day because that also is on a Sunday. I would have thought the Tournament of Roses and Sugar Bowl committees would have both fought tooth-and-nail against the NFL having a Monday night game that week because of their traditions and have had for many years the Sugar Bowl follow the Rose Bowl (with the NFL instead giving ESPN a Friday night game in Week 15 in lieu of a Week 17 Monday nighter). I suspect here the NFL “strongly suggested” to the Sugar Bowl and College Football Playoff Committees they move that game to 11:00 AM local time (Noon ET) New Year’s Eve (i.e.: Move it or we’ll see you in court). This will be very interesting in 2024 because New Year’s Day is on a Monday then and it would be the Rose and Sugar Bowl’s turn to host the semifinals of the CFP (and especially important for the Rose Bowl since the last time it was those bowl games turn to host such, they had to play the Rose Bowl Game at “Jerry World” because the state of California due to COVID would not let them have fans in attendance. The NFL may very well for the 2023-’24 season have to yield New Year’s Day to the Rose and Sugar Bowls (the Rose Bowl won’t move and I doubt the College Football Playoff committee wants to have to have the Sugar Bowl as a playoff semifinal start while the Tournament of Roses Parade (which airs on basically ALL of the networks) is going on New Year’s morning and give ESPN it’s MNF game that week on Friday or give ESPN/ABC an extra game on an earlier week during that season to compensate for no MNF game New Year’s Night (or, the NFL can push the entire 2023-’24 season back a week and have New Year’s weekend be Week 16 with ESPN getting an MNF doubleheader in Week 17 to make up).

    A lot of stuff behind this schedule.

  2. Adding:

    You have to wonder with the NFL now having three games on Christmas Day, would the NBA move their traditional Christmas Day games to the next day since Monday, December 26 as noted is actually the LEGAL holiday for Christmas this year. That would have the first three games on Christmas Day not opposite the NFL (perhaps with Monday Night Football moved that week to ABC only and airing following what would be on ABC an NBA Tripleheader at Noon, 2:30 and 5:00 PM ET and ESPN doing the 8:00 and 10:30 PM ET slots that night.

  3. Speaking of Sunday night football flexing games of next season, currently Packers have 5 primetime games and MN Vikings have two of them, but if both teams have a good record and battle for the NFC North title next season, I could see NFL week 17 Vikings vs. Packers at Lambeau Field being flexed out of 3:25 pm CBS and flex that matchup at Lambeau Field week 17 Sunday Night Football NBC for the playoff implications in order to battle the NFC North Title between the MN Vikings and the Green Bay Packers.

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