Christmas Eve Sports Calendar Is Crowded

In past years, the only Christmas Eve game action was a college football bowl game from Hawaii.

Christmas Eve has been probably  the most quiet night on the sports calendar.  The National Hockey League stopped playing Christmas Eve games in 1971 ended a traditional that started in 1920. The NHL had Christmas Day games scheduled in the 1960s. Today the league shuts down for two days and even has a trade ban between December 19 and December 27.  The World Junior Hockey Tournament starts on December 26 so there really is no hockey over the Christmas holiday.


The National Basketball Association also avoids Christmas Eve games. But Christmas Day is big around the league. Major matchups, major names generally although this year only the Golden State-Cleveland game seems worthwhile. But the NBA will be selling post-Christmas present items that you can get in the event you somehow missed giving gifts. All 10 teams will be showing off special Christmas uniforms that will be available for consumers. It would not be the NBA Christmas without selling something.

The National Football League will be in action this year. The NFL has a long history of playing on Christmas Eve and has in the past made sure playoff games were not played on Christmas Day. The season now extends to the new year so there are no problems with playoff games although there is one Christmas that did cause a problem. The long playoff game between Miami and Kansas City in 1971, it seems, played havoc with families gathering for dinner with people seemingly more interested in the game than being with their families. The NFL after the 1971 experience did not try another Christmas day game for years.

The schedule this year has Christmas Eve and Christmas Day contests, 12 on Saturday, two on Sunday so the league seemingly is noty worried about 1971 era criticisms anymore.


Christmas is not interfering with the NFL schedule.


It is Christmas Eve and in the sports world, it is pretty quiet or supposed to be quiet. The National Hockey League has shut down for two days, The National Basketball Association is quiet. There is one college football bowl game in Honolulu featuring Hawaii and Middle Tennessee but there is also something else on the schedule. Almost a full slate of National Football League games. There are 12 of them. It is the usual full fare of games starting with the 1 eastern, 10 pacific slot with eight games, there is 4:25 eastern or 1:25 pacific contests and a Saturday night game which will only be seen on the NFL network and in local markets in Cincinnati and Houston. There have been 17 Christmas Day games in NFL history.


The NFL generally avoids playing on Christmas day but this year the holiday happened to fall out on Saturday night and Sunday. There will be the usual Monday night game and there was the Thursday night game which proceeded the holiday. The NFL in 1955 pushed the Cleveland-Los Angeles and in 1960 Green Bay-Philadelphia league championship games to Monday, December 26. The NFL was stung by political criticism in 1971 having playing a pair of playoff games. It was the second game, a long overtime affair between Miami and Kansas City was the problem. Allegedly families missed traditional Christmas Day dinners because people were too concerned with the game. The issue became so heated that one Kansas state legislator who apparently represented a perfect district that did not have one problem introduced a law calling on the NFL to ban Christmas Day games. The NFL reworked the schedule and did not have any Christmas conflicts for years. The last Christmas Day game was held five years ago with Chicago playing Green Bay and that was at night. The games must go on. It is on the schedule.