Why Is There No ‘Thursday Night Football’ in Week 16?

Even in the strange year that is 2020, Thursday Night Football has remained the norm all season. 

Like with anything else in this bizarre football season, the league had to move a few ‘TNF’ games around. But with two weeks left in the season, Roger Goodell and the NFL haven’t had to cancel any games just yet.

Football fans have likely already noticed that there is no Thursday Night Football game in Week 16. Let’s look at why that is the case, as well as how the rest of the regular season’s TV schedule will play out.

This has been a strange year for ‘Thursday Night Football’

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The NFL deserves credit where credit is due for not having to cancel any games through the season’s first 15 weeks.

Organizations were put in unfortunate situations, yes, but all of the league’s 32 teams are on pace to end the year having all played 16 games. In an uncertain season featuring a global pandemic, that is an excellent accomplishment.

Thursday Night Football was no stranger to the strange changes brought upon by the coronavirus pandemic. The NFL moved multiple ‘TNF’ games back a few days when teams had COVID-19 outbreaks.

Although it did not technically fall under the Thursday Night Football window, the Thanksgiving night matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers is a perfect example. The Ravens’ COVID-19 problems pushed that game back a full six days.

There is no ‘Thursday Night Football’ in Week 16

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Football fans hoping to enjoy Christmas Eve with an ongoing NFL game are out of luck.

There is no Thursday Night Football game in Week 16, but not for COVID-19 reasons. Since turning ‘TNF’ into a full-season affair, the NFL only schedules Thursday night games from Week 1-15 most years.

There is an exception depending on when Christmas is in a given year. Christmas is on a Friday this year, and the NFL does its best to avoid playing on Christmas Eve.

The ‘TNF’ broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, along with sideline reporters Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink, can enjoy the night before Christmas in peace.

The NFL never intended to have a Thursday night game in Week 16 or Week 17 this year. However, it is always possible that a team could play next Thursday night if COVID-19 problems arise in the coming days.

The NFL likely would prefer to avoid playing a night game on New Year’s Eve, however.

Football fans will have no shortage of games, however

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Although there is no Thursday Night Football in Week 16, fans will have no shortage of games to enjoy this week.

Dalvin Cook and the Vikings (6-8) play at Drew Brees and the Saints (10-4) on Christmas Day. The regular ‘TNF’ broadcast team is expected to call that game live from New Orleans. 

The NFL has three games planned for Saturday, December 26. 

There are 11 games scheduled for Sunday, December 27. The 2020 Monday Night Football slate will end when Josh Allen and the Bills (11-3) face Cam Newton and the New England Patriots (6-8) on December 28. 

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