The 2014 NFL schedule was announced on Wednesday night and with it brought the normal array of rivalry games and rematches from years past including the Super Bowl XLVIII rematch between the Seahawks and Broncos. There are changes to the television schedule with an all-NFC Thanksgiving Day assortment including the first CBS game that has just NFC teams in 20 years when the Lions host the Bears. New flexible scheduling is in starting with Week 5 and there is a Saturday doubleheader in Week 16. That doubleheader however brings about the thought of why didn’t the NFL schedule a second doubleheader to be played in Week 17 with everything on the table?
The league has gone to having divisional matchups to end the year hoping to get games that decide division titles along the way. If the NFL wants to have as many fans see as many great games as possible, why didn’t they have a divisional doubleheader on Saturday afternoon and evening to build some excitement? A great example is the race in the NFC West. While the St. Louis Rams didn’t make a serious run at the playoffs this past season, they could easily do that in 2014 and who wouldn’t want that Saturday to be the four NFC West teams playing for a title? The schedule now has Arizona at San Francisco and St. Louis at Seattle in Week 17. Why can’t those games be played on Saturday?
Another idea would be rotating which division gets the Week 17 Saturday doubleheader to keep it equal. The fans already are going to get a great game on Sunday night and a doubleheader during the day Sunday. Would it be so wrong to have five high-profile nationally televised games on that final pivotal weekend? There would be no arguments from most on that idea. In fact, it probably would be better to scrape Thursday Night Football to have it be Saturday Night Football each week but the league seems intent on wanting those Thursday games.
The NFL has already placed the Philadelphia/Washington game on the Saturday schedule for Week 16 in a game that is going to be highly anticipated and will get the national television coverage it deserves. The way parity has run rampant through the NFL these days, why can’t more games that mean something be on for the entire nation to see? The NFL really needs to think about this idea and put it in place for the 2015 season.