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Almost a Total Sports Shut Down on Christmas Eve

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Photo: Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

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 is back with Brigham Young University playing Hawaii. In 2018, the game was played on December 22. Other than 2018, the Hawaii Bowl has been a Christmas Eve fixture since 2009. Technically, the game is an afternoon affair in Honolulu but a night time contest on most of the mainland. The NHL last scheduled games on Christmas Eve in 1971 and stopped playing Christmas Day games in 1972. The NHL even has a trade ban between December 19 and 27 of each season. College basketball is also taking Christmas Eve off. Presumably it is also a quiet sports betting day.

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 that 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.

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