The NFL’s newly installed Black Friday game has become a hot commodity, according to league executive Mike North, who said the New York Jets were one of multiple teams that “raised their hand” to host the game on an annual basis.
North discussed several schedule-related topics during a recent interview on “The Adam Schefter Podcast,” including this year’s inaugural Black Friday game when the Jets will host the Miami Dolphins on Amazon.
North told reporters last week that the Cincinnati Bengals lobbied to host the Black Friday game as an annual fixture. During his interview with Schefter, he mentioned the Jets as another team interested in being an annual host of the holiday game, similar to the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys traditionally hosting nationally televised games on Thanksgiving.
“I hope I’m not speaking out of turn when I mentioned to people that the Bengals volunteered,” said North, the NFL’s vice president of broadcast planning. “There were others that kind of raised their hands for Black Friday as well.”
The league announced last week that this year’s Black Friday game would be hosted by the Jets, who will be featured in five additional prime-time games in 2023 with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback.
“The Jets, once they found out they were the host team, then started to think about, ‘Hey, is this something we could make a permanent fixture as part of the NFL schedule?'” North said. “Maybe they didn’t raise their hands in February, but now that they have been selected as the Black Friday host, I think they might be interested in it, too.”
Amazon, which will distribute the game on Prime Video, reached out to the league about having one of the NFL’s New York teams involved in the inaugural Black Friday game. Amazon suggested that its positioning as a giant retailer and having a game in the top retail market in the country could be a “fun way” to introduce the concept. North said last week that the NFL also looked at a potential matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants before settling on Dolphins-Jets.
North told Schefter that the NFL also considered Black Friday rivalry matchups featuring the Bengals hosting either the Pittsburgh Steelers or Baltimore Ravens. He emphasized that he doesn’t have the final word on whether the league will implement a permanent host for the Black Friday game, saying that decision will fall on ownership and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
“I don’t think we were looking for this season to commit to a permanent home for Black Friday,” North said. “Let’s play one first and let’s see what we learn and let’s see what makes sense and let’s see if it works for our fans, I don’t think we were looking on day one to deploy this with a permanent home.
“But it’s certainly something we should talk about. Let’s see what happens this year, let’s see what the fan reaction is to that day, and I’m sure we’ll go back to ownership, we’ll go back to membership and we’ll talk about would we be interested in it. Is that a good idea for the NFL? I’m sure there’s pros and cons to both.”
The Jets acquired Rodgers in a blockbuster trade with the Green Bay Packers last month, two weeks before the NFL released its full 2023 schedule. North said the protracted Rodgers trade talks did not have much impact on the league’s scheduling plan for the Jets, who he referred to as a “good football team” with “exciting skill position players.”
“I think you would still see a lot of Jets games on national television,” North said. “That was a good football team. … Those games had to be used in national TV windows somewhere.”