The Washington Redskins and every other NFL team will play at least once on a Thursday in the 2014 season.
The league will continue to have each team play one game on a Thursday following a Sunday game, according to a league official.
The NFL announced earlier Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with CBS for the network to televise a portion of the Thursday night schedule in the 2014 season.
According to the NFL’s announcement, there will be a 16-game package of Thursday night and Saturday night games next season, with eight of those games being carried on CBS and eight on the league-owned NFL Network. The games broadcast on CBS will be simulcast on the NFL Network, according to the league’s announcement. Two of the games will be on a Saturday night late in the season, the league announced.
The 14 Thursday night games in the new CBS/NFL Network package are to come in Weeks 2 to 12 and Weeks 14 to 16 of the regular season. The NFL will continue to have three games on Thanksgiving, one each on Fox, CBS and NBC. That is a total of 17 Thursday games following Sunday games.
There also is an 18th Thursday game that doesn’t follow any Sunday games, the regular season opener carried by NBC that will be hosted by the Seattle Seahawks, as the Super Bowl champions. So some teams will play multiple Thursday games. But according to one person familiar with the situation, no team will play more than one “short-week” Thursday game that follows a game the previous Sunday. Schedule makers will be able to use teams’ bye weeks to avoid that, the person said. Teams likely would regard playing multiple Thursday games following Sunday games over the course of the season as a competitive issue.
The two late-season Saturday games in the new TV package are to come as a Week 16 doubleheader, according to the league. There is to be no Thursday night game in Week 17 of the regular season.
According to the league’s announcement, the new arrangement with CBS is for the 2014 season, with an NFL-held option for the 2015 season. It was not immediately clear how much CBS will pay for the new package. The NFL decided to sell a portion of its Thursday night TV package after long-running deliberations by the team owners over whether they’d be better served by selling the games to generate additional revenues in the form of rights fees, or keeping the games on their own TV network in a bid to increase its appeal.
“NFL Network built Thursday into a night for NFL fans,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement issued Wednesday. “Our goal is to bring these games to more fans on broadcast television with unprecedented promotion and visibility for Thursday Night Football on CBS.”
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