The NFL is planning to release the 2023 regular season schedule on Thursday in a primetime, made-for-television special. The league is believed to be putting the finishing touches on the 18-week, 17-game schedule for each team, but it may not be as close to finalized as had been hoped. According to Pro Football Talk and NBC Sports’ Peter King, the release of the schedule “may be delayed”.
The hold up seems to be, as King describes them, the “mega-games” for the schedule. These are the Week 1 Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night contests, the Thanksgiving games, this year’s debut of a Black Friday game, the Christmas eve Sunday Night Football game, and the Christmas triple header for this year. Without those games locked in, the rest of the schedule cannot fall into place.
King also states that the league is not expected to give every team a Thursday night game this year, breaking a trend from recent seasons. King explains, “The league traditionally has made Thursday night the receptacle for bad teams once a year to play in prime time. But now that the league passed a rule in March allowing teams to play short-week Thursday games twice,” the league could choose to put marquee games on Thursday night more often, burying “bad” games in the afternoon slots on Sunday without wasting a primetime position. He also reiterated a previous report that, with Aaron Rodgers with the New York Jets this year, the Miami Dolphins’ AFC East rivals could find themselves in 11 or 12 primetime or Sunday late-afternoon slots this year.
The league still appears to be looking to get the schedule set for Thursday night, and King does write, “It’s still likely to be done in time for release Thursday at 8 p.m.,” but there are concerns now.