Every year, the NFL waits until all the games are completed in Week 16 before finalizing their Week 17 schedule in large part to have the best matchups with playoff implications in the late game window and on Sunday Night Football.
But this year, the NFL couldn’t find a game worthy for “Sunday Night Football” in Week 17 so decided to not have one.
The NFL released it’s Week 17 schedule on Sunday evening with all the games taking place at either 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. eastern time, with no game on Sunday night:
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) December 25, 2017
There will be nine games in the late time slot, which is something very unusual. Usually, the NFL has roughly three to five games in that window.
Following the decision, the NFL released this statement, explaining their decisions:
“In order to ensure that all games with playoff implications that impact each other are played at the same time, there will be no Sunday night game in Week 17. We feel that both from a competitive standpoint and from a fan perspective, the most fair thing to to do is schedule all Week 17 games in either 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. ET windows. This ensures that we do not have a matchup on Sunday Night Football on New Year’s Eve that because of earlier results have no playoff implications for one or both of the competing teams.”
You can’t really blame the NFL for going this route, they’ve had a rough year when it comes to ratings and while the anthem protests have played a role, the lack of luck with the primetime scheduling has played a large part as well.