You’ve probably already heard that the Detroit Lions are getting their first game in the London series next season against the Atlanta Falcons.
Last week, the game’s date was set at Oct. 26, which falls in Week 8 of the 2014 NFL season. But here’s the part nobody predicted.
The Lions will play their London game vs. Atlanta at 9:30 a.m. East Coast time. That means they’ll lead into Sunday’s games on national tv.
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) December 4, 2013
The NFL obviously wanted Wembley Stadium to get an afternoon NFL game, just the same as we’re used to here in the States. The result is that we’re going to get some early-morning football. So now US audiences watching FOX will get Lions-Falcons as their warmup to the usual 1:00 NFL action, instead of the incoherent ramblings of Terry Bradshaw.
It will be interesting to see how the players respond to an afternoon game overseas, as well as how this affects TV ratings in the US. Since no other games will be on at the time, the Lions will have a national game, but somehow 9:30 AM doesn’t seem like as enticing a time slot as, say, 12 hours later.
Regardless, the NFL is powerful enough to generate views in even the wee hours of the morning (see: Chargers-Raiders from earlier this season), so it’s not hard to imagine NFL fans getting their pregame prep done early for three extra hours of football. That is, unless you’re on the West Coast, and 6:30 AM football between Detroit and Atlanta doesn’t sound enticing to you.
If everything works out (and it usually does for the NFL), this likely won’t be the last time we see an early start to NFL action. The more they can spread the games out, the longer we’re watching. That sounds good for everyone, really.