Thursday night football, for the past few years, has been the domain of the NFL Network and Fox. But starting Sept. 15, change is in the air.
Just as Major League Baseball has sent some exclusive broadcast rights to Apple TV+, the NFL is embracing the streaming model, with Amazon Prime taking over Thursday night duties. And, let’s hope they do it right, because the company holds those rights for the next 11 years, with some exceptions, like on Thanksgiving.
Amazon plans to broadcast the games a bit differently. Here’s a look at how to watch and what to expect from Thursday night games moving forward.
Which NFL teams are playing on Thursdays this season?
A couple seasons ago, Thursday night games were some of the least impressive. But in 2022, it’s a much more interesting series of matchups. Here’s who’s playing when, with a reminder that the home team is listed second.
Thursday, Sept. 15
Los Angeles Chargers vs Kansas City Chiefs, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Sept. 22
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Sept. 29
Miami Dolphins vs Cincinnati Bengals, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Oct. 6
Baltimore Colts vs Denver Broncos, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Oct. 13
Washington Commanders vs Chicago Bears, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Oct. 20
New Orleans Saints vs Arizona Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Oct. 27
Baltimore Ravens vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Nov. 3
Philadelphia Eagles vs Houston Texans, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Nov. 10
Atlanta Falcons vs Charlotte Panthers, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Nov. 17
Tennessee Titans vs Green Bay Packers, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Nov. 24
New England Patriots vs Minnesota Vikings, 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC
Thursday, Dec. 1
Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Dec. 8
Las Vegas Raiders vs Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Dec. 15
San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Dec. 22
Jacksonville Jaguars vs New York Jets, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Thursday, Dec. 29
Dallas Cowboys vs Tennessee Titans, 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime
Can I watch NFL Thursday night games for free on broadcast television?
This is where things get a little tricky. If you live in the home town of one of the two teams that are playing on any particular Thursday, you’ll likely have an opportunity to watch, even if you don’t have an Amazon Prime account. Simulcasts will be offered on broadcast networks, letting you watch for free with a good HD antenna.
But if you’re outside of the range of those stations, streaming or a trip to the local sports bar is your only option.
Can I stream NFL Thursday night games live online if I don’t have an Amazon Prime account?
No. While the many streaming services can help you watch games any other day, Amazon has exclusivity to these games, preventing other streaming services from carrying them.
What changes will Amazon bring to the NFL games it airs?
Amazon gets that the streaming audience could be a bit different than the broadcast one, so it’s planning some unique twists on the game.
It will, for instance, overlay stats and game updates using its “X-Ray” technology, much like it offers information on which actors are in a scene during a film or TV show. An alternate stream will also be made for younger audiences, with the YouTube group Dude Perfect replacing the standard play-by-play and color commentary team.
Who is Amazon’s broadcast team?
Amazon has hired some of the most recognizable announcers and commentators as it jumps into the NFL. Al Michaels, who has called both Monday Night Football and Sunday Night Football, will lead the team. Kirk Herbstreit, who has focused mainly on college games and been a key player on ESPN’s “College GameDay” program, will be the color commentator. And All-Pro players Richard Sherman and Tony Gonzalez will be analysts, alongside former Los Angeles Ram Andrew Whitworth and Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played with nine teams during his career.
Will I be able to watch Thursday Night Football at my favorite bar or restaurant?
Yes. Amazon struck a deal with DirecTV that will allow over 300,000 bars and restaurants round the country to air the game
Does the NFL offer any viewing packages to watch the Thursday night games?
Kind of. The NFL App will let you stream games that are being broadcast locally in your market as well as any played in prime time.
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