Are you ready for some playoff football? Last season, the NFL expanded the playoffs to include six wild-card games and the league announced that one of those games will be played on Monday evening for the first-ever playoff edition of Monday Night Football.
The NFL hasn’t determined which network will air the Monday Night Football game, which should be a mega-hit in an era of cord-cutting and declining ratings.
Typically, the opening round of the playoffs is called “Wild-Card Weekend” with games played on Saturday and Sunday in January. With six games in the Wild-Card Weekend on the docket, the NFL announced that two opening-round games will play out on Saturday, with three on Sunday, and one final wild card on Monday evening.
|NFL Playoffs Wild-Card Schedule|
- Saturday, Jan. 15 at 4:35 pm ET
- Saturday, Jan. 15 at 8:15 pm ET
- Sunday, Jan. 16 at 1:05 pm ET
- Sunday, Jan 16, at 8:15 pm ET
- Monday, Jan. 17 at 8:15 pm ET
The major networks each have an opportunity to broadcast the wild-card round. NBC and CBS have a contract that stipulates they will air two games each from the wild-card round, while ESPN and Fox will broadcast one game each. The NFL hasn’t determined broadcast assignments yet for the playoffs, but rumors suggest that ESPN has the inside track for the Monday Night Football game.
The NFL saw their viewership dip 7% across the board during the 2020 season, and Wild-Card Weekend took a huge hit. According to Sportico, wild-card ratings were down 25% on Saturday and down 20% on Sunday. Moving one of the Saturday afternoon games to Monday evening makes sense because that’s a valuable primetime slot.