By Evan Weiner |
It is Christmas Eve and in the sports world, it is pretty quiet or supposed to be quiet. The National Hockey League has shut down for three days. The National Basketball Association has nothing scheduled. The Hawaii Bowl, which was a Christmas Eve fixture since 2009 was played on December 22 this year.
The National Football League has a Monday Night Football game between the Denver Broncos and the Raiders in Oakland. It could be the final game ever played in the Oakland Coliseum as Mark Davis’s Raiders franchise has no deal to play home games anywhere in 2019. Initially Davis’s Raiders franchise wanted to stay in Oakland for 2019 and then depart to Las Vegas. The Oakland game will start at 5:15 local time and is the only major sports event scheduled on Christmas Eve and that may please some politicians.
The NFL generally avoids playing on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. But times and TV commitments have changed. The NFL in 1955 pushed the Cleveland-Los Angeles and in 1960 Green Bay-Philadelphia league championship games to Monday December 26.
The NFL was stung by political criticism in 1971 after playing a pair of playoff games. It was the second game, a long overtime affair between Miami and Kansas City was the problem. Allegedly families missed traditional Christmas Day dinners because people were too concerned with the game. The issue became so heated that one Kansas state legislator who introduced a law calling on the NFL to ban Christmas Day games. The proposal went absolutely nowhere but the NFL didn’t take any chances. The league reworked the schedule and did not have any Christmas conflicts for years. Since then, no politician has introduced legislation barring the NFL or any leagues from playing on Christmas. Sports does not take days off.
The games must go on. It is on the schedule.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.