The NFL is starting a new schedule tradition in 2023, announcing the annual "Black Friday" game that will be streamed exclusively on Amazon Prime. The game will be streamed for free as part of a Black Friday "deal" presented by Amazon, so fans don't have to subscribe to watch the contest.
Is the NFL entering unchartered territory? The NFL has played games on Fridays, but they have been played on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day since 1999. The league did have a pair of Friday games on New Year's Eve in 1993, which was also a holiday. The last time the NFL played games on a Friday that wasn't on a holiday was in 1986, six days before Christmas on Dec. 19.
Friday games were a fixture on the AFL schedule in the 1960s, with the league playing the last November Friday game in 1964 between the Boston Patriots and Denver Broncos. That game on Nov. 20 was six days before Thanksgiving. The last game played on Black Friday was between the Patriots and Buffalo Bills on Nov. 23, 1962.
The last time the NFL played a game on a Friday that wasn't in December was when the Los Angeles Rams played the St. Louis Cardinals to open the season on Sept. 18, 1970 -- a game that started at 11 p.m. ET.
Anything goes with the inaugural "Black Friday" game in 2023, as many teams are primed to host the first game of a tradition that will be around for at least the next 10 years. Here are five matchups that could take place on Friday, November 24.
1. Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets
Let's assume Aaron Rodgers heads to the Jets this offseason. What an opportunity for Rodgers to face Patrick Mahomes for the first time in the "Big Apple" -- on a day the majority of the country has off work and can watch a battle of the last two MVPs.
MetLife Stadium would host the first matchup between Rodgers and Mahomes in a game that would rival the three Thanksgiving Day slugfests.
Again, it's a hypothetical Rodgers goes to the Jets. If Rodgers does end up in New York, the Jets are going to be a must watch -- especially against the defending Super Bowl champions.
2. Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen are arguably two of the top five quarterbacks in the game. The NFL has a golden opportunity to pin the first meeting between the two top quarterbacks at Lincoln Financial Field on a holiday in front of a national audience.
Of course, Bills-Eagles is a prime "Sunday Night Football" candidate throughout the season -- and could potentially be a Thanksgiving or Christmas game itself (Christmas Eve is on a Sunday and Christmas is on a Monday). Hurts vs. Allen could deliver monster ratings for a game the NFL wants to succeed.
3. Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars
Another quarterback matchup? Why not pit Joe Burrow (the No. 1 overall pick in 2020) and Trevor Lawrence (the No. 1 overall pick in 2021) in their second time squaring off. The Jaguars are one of the rising teams in the AFC while the Bengals are one of the conference's best teams.
Again, this is another opportunity to show off two of the league's best young quarterbacks. The Bengals and Jaguars don't play in two of the biggest markets, but they have two quarterbacks taking the league by storm.
4. San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are one of the NFL's legacy franchises with six Super Bowl titles. The 49ers are another legacy franchise with five Super Bowl titles, coming off an NFC Championship Game appearance in 2022.
This may be an opportunity to showcase Trey Lance and Kenny Pickett in the national spotlight, while drawing eyeballs to the television thanks to the large amount of fan bases the Steelers and 49ers have. Pittsburgh and San Francisco don't play each other often after all.
5. Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens
The first meeting between Lamar Jackson and Tua Tagovailoa (when both quarterbacks started) was a thriller, with Tagovailoa throwing six touchdown passes as the Dolphins rallied from a 35-14 third quarter deficit to win 42-38 in Baltimore. Tagovailoa threw four of those touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, including the game winner with 14 seconds left.
The rematch this season is also at M&T Bank Stadium. Assuming Jackson remains with the Ravens, this matchup will be one hot ticket -- primed for a nationally televised showdown.