Los 40 USA
Sign in to commentAPP
spainSPAINchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA


NFL to play 2 games on Christmas Day 2024: How many games have been played on Dec. 25?

The NFL has announced that it will once again be playing games on Christmas Day, but how long has the league maintained this tradition? Let’s find out.

While the NFL has a tradition of holding Thanksgiving Day games every year, those played on Christmas Day only happen occasionally. Let’s take a look.

There is no tradition quite like that of NFL on Thanksgiving Day. Indeed, family and friends will likely agree that aside from the turkey dinners and cranberry sauce, there is little that can compare with a primetime clash on the gridiron once the food has settled. Yet, Christmas Day offers a similar opportunity. So, why is it only occasionally tapped by the league?

Christmas Day gave us the longest NFL game in NFL history

If we go back in time, the first Christmas Day games were held in 1971 with two Divisional Playoff clashes. The Dallas Cowboys beat the Minnesota Vikings 20-12 and moved on to the NFC Championship in the very first NFL Christmas Day game, while the Miami Dolphins defeated the Kansas Chiefs 27-24 in the second game of the day in 1971 to advance to the AFC Championship. Interestingly, the second game also turned out to be the longest in NFL history, coming to an end after 82 minutes and 40 seconds of game time.

The length of that record-setting match threw some fans off having games on Christmas, as it reportedly affected their festivities for the day. Others protested NFL holding games on a religious and family holiday. As a result of all the fuss, it would be 18 years before the league decided to stage another game on Christmas Day. As such, the year was 1989 when the NFL finally returned to staging games on Christmas Day. Below you can see the full list of NFL games that have been played on Christmas Day:

  • Playoff games
    1971 – Dallas Cowboys 20, MINNESOTA VIKINGS 12
    1971 – Miami Dolphins 27, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS, 24 (2 OT - longest game in NFL)
  • Regular Season
    1989 – MINNESOTA VIKINGS 29, Cincinnati Bengals 21
    1993 – Houston Oilers 10, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 7
    1994 – MIAMI DOLPHINS 27, Detroit Lions 20
    1995 – Dallas Cowboys 37, ARIZONA CARDINALS 13
    1999 – Denver Broncos 17, DETROIT LIONS 7
    2000 – TENNESSEE TITANS 31, Dallas Cowboys 0
    2004 – KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 31, Oakland Raiders 30
    2004 – Denver Broncos 37, TENNESSEE TITANS 16
    2005 – Chicago Bears 24, GREEN BAY PACKERS 17
    2005 – BALTIMORE RAVENS 30, Minnesota Vikings 23
    2006 – Philadelphia Eagles 23, DALLAS COWBOYS 7
    2006 – New York Jets 13, MIAMI DOLPHINS 10
    2009 – San Diego Chargers 42, TENNESSEE TITANS 17
    2010 – ARIZONA CARDINALS 27, Dallas Cowboys 26
    2011 – GREEN BAY PACKERS 35, Chicago Bears 21
    2016 - PITTSBURGH STEELERS 31, Baltimore Ravens 27
    2016 - KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 33, Denver Broncos 10
    2017 - Pittsburgh Steelers 34, HOUSTON TEXANS 6
    2017 - PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 19, Oakland Raiders 10
    2020- Minnesota Vikings 33, New Orleans Saints 52
    2021- Cleveland Browns vs. Green Bay Packers
    2021- Indianapolis Colts vs. Arizona Cardinals

NFL’s Christmas Day schedule returns in 2024

With Christmas falling on a different day each year as opposed to Thanksgiving which always falls on a Thursday, there have been scheduling problems for the league, however, it appears the notion of a Christmas Day slate of games is one that the NFL has settled on. In keeping with that, the league will be following on from its first-ever triple header which was held on Christmas Day of 2023.

As mentioned before, the NFL went with three games on the Christmas Day slate last year, and by all accounts, it was an absolute hit with fans. While there were fears that the league would abstain this year with Christmas falling on a Wednesday, that appears to not be the case and according to the league, it’s purely because of the fans.

“When we saw the viewership from this past year, really our fans spoke,” NFL executive vice president of media distribution Hans Schroeder said. “We certainly saw and believe that they are very much enjoying and wanting NFL football on Christmas.” Where the matchups themselves are concerned, there has been no official word as yet on who will be involved, but we do know that the games will be played between teams that play on the previous Saturday, in order to account for the recovery window.