The Detroit Lions will probably be showcased in August on Hard Knocks, a night show on HBO. After that, the league has no use for the Lions in prime-time.
During a Friday media video conference, NFL V.P. of broadcast planning Mike North admitted that it “looks odd” to not have Detroit in any night games for 2022, barring a late-season flex to Sunday night. North identified that, even with out a prime-time game, they proceed to have a hammerlock on a primary spot on the fourth Thursday in November.
“Unattractive is just not the suitable word,” North said of the Lions. “The true thing for us is, again, we take a look at them on national windows and we will never lose sight of the incontrovertible fact that Thanksgiving afternoon window — that 12:30 window in Detroit — most years is the Number Two or Number Three most-watched NFL game every 12 months, so there’s no hesitation to place the Lions in a national window like that. . . . You would actually make a reasonably compelling argument they’re gonna get so much more eyeballs for that one than they might have in the event that they had one kind-of stand-alone Monday night game or one kind-of stand-alone Thursday night game. I acknowledge that it ‘looks odd’ to have them not in prime-time, but they’re gonna be playing in one in all the five most-watched games of this season. That’s pretty good, too.”
But that’s the case every 12 months, provided that the Lions have owned this spot for many years and presumably will proceed to achieve this. In a weird kind of way, North’s decision to justify no prime-time appearances for the Lions by saying, “Well, they’re getting the most effective spots of the 12 months” creates the impression that perhaps the league is at the very least pondering the potential for being more strategic about 12:30 ET on Thanksgiving and fewer tied to tradition.
There’s no specific reason to imagine that’s happening. But there was something concerning the way North said it — and there’s something concerning the increasingly deliberate manner wherein the NFL deploys it’s scheduling assets — that at the very least made me stop and think that perhaps, because the NFL further hones its broadcasting procedures, some within the league office would really like to have the flexibleness to a spot team aside from the Lions in “one in all the five most-watched games of the season.”