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NFL Black Friday game: More than one team volunteered to play in it annually; why 2023 features Jets-Dolphins

NFL schedule: One team volunteered to play on Black Friday annually; why NFL chose Jets-Dolphins for 2023

The upcoming NFL season will feature the first Black Friday game in the history of the league. The day-after-Thanksgiving game will be between AFC East rivals in the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, but it was a different team who asked to be featured in the historic game.

According to Mike North, the NFL’s vice president of broadcast planning, the Cincinnati Bengals volunteered to play on Black Friday every year and were hoping to make it an NFL tradition — the same way the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions always play at home on Thanksgiving. 

“The Cincinnati Bengals raised their hand, they put their hand up and said we’re interested in Black Friday not just in 2023, but how about as a tradition. We play in Dallas and Detroit on Thanksgiving every year, how about playing in Cincinnati on Black Friday every year?” North said, via Mad Dog Sports Radio.

The NFL did consider a game between the Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers, which would have been an AFC North showdown, but ended up going in a different direction based on the location of the teams. Since New York is the No. 1 retail market in the country, Amazon noted it would make sense to have a game involving one of the New York teams on a day that is all about shopping.

After the Jets were chosen for the Black Friday game, they also began thinking of making it a new New York tradition. 

“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, via ESPN. “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.”

As it currently stands, the league is not asking for one team to be married to the Black Friday game, but things could change after the game is played this year.

“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,” North continued. “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…

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