With Christmas just around the corner, the Week 16 NFL schedule has attracted much attention. When Christmas falls on a weekend, that means football will be there to greet us as well. However, some teams have never played on this most special of days.
Let’s take a closer look at how these Christmas Day games have evolved since they were first played in 1971.
Has every NFL team played on Christmas day?
It may surprise some fans that only 22 games have been played on Christmas Day in league history. This means numerous teams have not played on Christmas. For example, the Green Bay Packers are no strangers to playing on this special day. But last year’s Christmas opponent, the Cleveland Browns, never had.
The Dallas Cowboys lead the way on this list, reports AS, with five Christmas Day appearances. The Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans are tied for second, with four appearances. Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, and Miami Dolphins are tied for third, with three appearances each.
After the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts played their first-ever Christmas Day games last year, this left 10 teams that had yet to do so. So who will cross their names off the list this year? The Packers and Dolphins have both played on Christmas before, so neither. However, this season, the other two Christmas Day games will feature first-time participants.
This year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals will do battle, allowing Tampa Bay to scratch themselves off the list. The third Christmas Day game features the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams, providing the Rams with their inaugural Christmas appearance.
This leaves eight teams that have yet to play on December 25:
- Atlanta Falcons
- Buffalo Bills
- Carolina Panthers
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- New England Patriots
- New York Giants
- Seattle Seahawks
- Washington Commanders.
Which NFL team has won the most Christmas day games?
The NFL typically looks to give their players the chance to enjoy an off day on Christmas Day. But including this year’s upcoming slate, 27 games will have been played on this day. For the most part, if the holiday falls on a Sunday, the league will shift most of the week’s games to Christmas Eve on Saturday, reports the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Most fans think the Cowboys would take the title for the most Christmas Day wins since they have played on this day the most. However, they are tied. Seven teams have won twice on Christmas, including the Cowboys. The Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers have the best records, at 2-0. The Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, and Tennessee Titans won twice on December 25.
Have any noteworthy games been played on Christmas?
Yes, in fact. The longest game in NFL history was played on this day. The Christmas Day game between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs was a thriller from start to finish, taking 82:40 worth of game time to complete. It is not the only double overtime game in league history, but it is the longest, as NFL Fandom reports.
The Dolphins took home the win for their 1971 tilt, as a 37-yard Garo Yepremian field goal split the uprights over 7 minutes into the second overtime. Each team has since played twice on Christmas Day.
The Dolphins have split their subsequent games, defeating the Detroit Lions in 1994 and losing to the New York Jets in 2006. The Chiefs won both, beating the Oakland Raiders in 2004 and the Broncos in 2016.