When the NFL released its 2022 game schedule last Thursday, there were a few things that immediately stood out. The Detroit Lions schedule once again featured an early bye week (Week 6), they had some potential cold away games late in the year, they’ll play on Christmas Eve and New Year’s day, and of course, the big one: the Lions were the only team in the NFL to not have a game in primetime.
This ruffled a lot of feathers amongst the fan base—and understandably so—but the league points to the fact that the Lions hosting a Thanksgiving game acts in a defacto primetime slot because of the national attention it receives, it just happens that it is played at 12:30 p.m. ET.
And while some fans feel disrespected at the lack of afternoon/night games on the schedule, coach Dan Campbell couldn’t be happier to play every game—save Thanksgiving—at a one o’clock start.
“It’s awesome,” Campbell excitedly said during his rookie minicamp press conference. “One-o’clock games. It’s awesome. One o’clock. You knock them out, you go home, you get ready for the next opponent. You’re not waiting all day in the hotel, all night. Then you’re on a short week—it feels like. So, I’ve got no problem.”
From a coaching perspective, installing a routine is a big part of repeating successes, and having weekly games all at the same time can be a pleasant advantage. But the Lions can’t get too comfortable, because as Campbell goes on to point out, the NFL keeps its Sunday Night games flexible, so as to always feature a top game that week.
“You can get flexed (Week) 5 to (Week) 15,” Campbell pointed out. “So who says we can’t get flexed.”
If the Lions stack some wins and find themselves matched up with a similar opponent, it’s entirely possible that they could find themselves playing on Sunday Night Football. But if Campbell gets his way, he’d surely keep the schedule as is.