2022 NFL Schedule Features 3 Games on Christmas Day for 1st Time Ever

Erin WalshApril 23, 2022

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 26: A Pittsburgh Steelers fan in a Christmas stocking cap and beard before an NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs on Dec 26, 2021 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Football fans will get a day full of NFL games on Christmas for the first time ever. 

The NFL will have three games on Dec. 25, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). There will be two afternoon games, which will be broadcast on CBS and Fox, and a prime-time game on NBC. 

"Christmas, when it falls on an NFL game day, we've had a lot of success there, all due respect to our friends at the NBA. It is something that our friends are interested in," NFL vice president of broadcasting Mike North said during an appearance on Sal Capaccio's podcast. "If Christmas falls on a Sunday, it makes perfect sense."

North also said on the podcast that the NFL would play at least two or three games on Christmas in 2023 because it falls on a Monday. In 2024, Christmas will be on a Wednesday, and North noted that it's unlikely the NFL schedules a midweek contest. 

“I’m not sure we’re gonna play on Wednesday,” North said, according to ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio. “But when we can play on Christmas, we will.”

The NFL has played on Christmas for the past three years. Last year, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Cleveland Browns 24-22. The matchup averaged 28.6 million viewers on Fox, according to the Associated Press. 

The Colts and Cardinals also met on Christmas during the 2021 season, with Indianapolis defeating Arizona 22-16. It averaged 12.6 million on NFL Network. 

The NFL's decision to play games on Christmas helps it rival the NBA, which has played on Dec. 25 since 1947. The 2021-22 season featured five NBA games on Christmas on ESPN and ABC. According to Austin Kapp of Sports Business Journal, those five games averaged 4.1 million viewers, the lowest since ESPN acquired the NBA's broadcasting rights in 2002-03.

The NFL announced Thursday that the full season schedule would be released on May 12. However, a few games will be revealed before that, such as the first Thursday Night Football game on Amazon Prime, international games and other select games.