The history of Wednesday night games in the NFL

This year, the NFL is ordering up Wednesday games on the schedule due to the holidays, a rarity in league history.
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This year, the NFL is ordering up Wednesday games on the schedule due to the holidays, a rarity in league history.

Monday Night Football is a tradition. Sunday Night Football is also a thing. We've grown used to Thursday Night Football, and Saturdays are now a given in the postseason. The NFL's claim on our schedules is ever-growing, but how about Wednesdays? Yeah, that's rare.

It's also happening in 2024. The league is serving up Wednesday games for the first time in a few years, a necessary outcome of the planetary alignment of two primary things: 1.) the NFL's discovery of Christmas Day broadcasts in recent years and, 2.) the yuletide timing of things in 2024.

So we're getting Christmas Day football from the NFL and if that means players have to find a way to suit up on a Wednesday, then so be it.

December 2, 2020

Surprisingly this is not the first time the NFL has had a Wednesday game (or even two). Just four years ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens were scheduled to play on a Thursday night. A COVID outbreak pushed it back to a Sunday and then a Tuesday and then, finally, a Wednesday.

The Steelers ended up getting the best of the Ravens in a tough defensive battle. Joe Haden returned an interception for a touchdown for the first score of the game, and Ben Roethlisberger his JuJu Smith-Schuster for the Steelers' only offensive touchdown.

September 5, 2012

The NFL had its season-opening game scheduled for the next night, on Thursday, September 6, for the 2012 season but a scheduled speech at the Democratic National Convention by Barack Obama was allowed to take precedence. The league decided to move out of the way of the entire night and went with a Wednesday opener.

The Cowboys and Giants met the day before in a memorable season opening game between the NFC East rivals and Tony Romo's Cowboys came up the big winners. Romo tossed TD passes to Kevin Ogletree and Miles Austin for a 24-16 win.

September 22, 1948

Yep, before the 2012 opener, it'd been well over 60 years since the league held a Wednesday game. The Lions put up little resistance against Clark Shaughnessy's Rams in a 44-7 drubbing that featured two TD passes from quarterback Jim Hardy and 2 rushing scores for Bob Hoffman.