It wasn’t long ago that the Los Angeles Rams were the NFL’s defending Super Bowl champions, so is it actually possible that the league wouldn’t put them in any primetime slot in 2023? Yes, it is actually possible.
Despite some concerns shared by SI’s Peter King that the NFL wouldn’t be ready to release the schedule on time, the league announced on Monday afternoon that indeed they are releasing the 2023 schedule on Thursday, May 11th. And there are going to be a few new schedule rules, one that definitively could impact the L.A. Rams.
Starting with this upcoming season, no team is guaranteed to get a primetime game. That indicates that the NFL is warning a few fanbases that they won’t see their favorite team on Thursday, Sunday, or Monday Night Football (or Black Friday Football) in 2023. Coming off of a 5-12 season and having stripped the roster of most recognizable names in the last few months, the Rams could be in danger of being one of those teams.
There are several obvious reasons why keeping the Rams off of primetime would be surprising, none bigger than the fact that the league wants to promote “there’s a $5 billion football stadium in Los Angeles that you should go check out!” to fans around the league. No, the fact that the Rams won the Super Bowl 15 months ago is not what I consider to be the biggest reason to put the team on national T.V..
I mean, consider a team you don’t root for like the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos won the Super Bowl in 2015, then went 9-7 in 2016, and they haven’t posted a winning record in any of the last six seasons since. The Broncos are a bad team, they’re a boring team, they’re a team that has lacked star power and highlight worthy plays for nearly a decade. It’s possible that we won’t see Denver on primetime this year, although the addition of Sean Payton gives them a chance.
Among the changes to the schedule this season:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 8, 2023
NFL will have a Black Friday game for the first time ever.
Games don’t necessarily “belong” to networks anymore. All games are free agents.
Teams can be on Thursday Night Football twice.
Not all teams are guaranteed to…
The Rams won a Super Bowl at the end of the 2021 season, sure, but there is no Odell Beckham, Jr., Von Miller, or Jalen Ramsey anymore. There’s no Robert Woods, Leonard Floyd, Eric Weddle, or Andrew Whitworth either. L.A. has retained just four reasons to watch the L.A. Rams if you’re not a fan of the L.A. Rams: Sean McVay, Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald.
This is not an argument of whether a player is good or bad, like Weddle barely squeaking out a few games at the end of his career, this is only a matter of selling football to fans who can’t name every player on every roster like many of you can. The NFL needs to SELL the L.A. Rams, but in actuality, they’re selling SoFi Stadium and the concept of flying out to Los Angeles with your family to go see their favorite team play a game.
I still expect the L.A. Rams to get a primetime game because facing the Bengals or the Eagles or the 49ers should be intriguing enough to sell ads. But the fact that the NFL doesn’t have to do it implies that maybe the Rams will only be on TV once and maybe they won’t be forced to play on Thursday.
Other schedule announcements include the NFL making it possible that teams can play twice on Thursday, there’s a game on Black Friday, and games will no longer “belong” to certain networks...they can be assigned to any of them regardless of certain affiliations.