Those who watch football every Sunday of the regular season are accustomed to a certain schedule. The games always start at the same time and always finish around the same time (with the exception of Week 17). For example, on the West Coast, there is the early game, the mid-game, and the primetime game. After 17 weeks, that schedule becomes second nature.
However, once the regular season is over, it all goes caddywompus, making it unnecessarily harder to remember game times. For example, in the divisional round there were games on Saturday at 1:30 PM PST and 5:40 PM PST while Sunday had games at 10:05 AM PST and 1:40 AM PST.
The games for Championship Weekend both take place on Sunday at 12:05 PM PST and 3:40 PM PST. The playoff game times need to be as consistent as possible week-to-week because the inconsistency adds an unnecessary layer of stress and confusion for the fans.
Playoff Game Times Need To Be Standardized
This call to action is not attacking the fact that the NFL has games played on both Saturday and Sunday during the first two weeks of the playoffs. It is pretty clear that the reason that the four games are split into two on Saturday and two on Sunday is that one can only really fit three games into a day. Mathematically, there can be four but that only leaves two options.
First, the fourth game is played early in the morning or late at night which would hurt viewership. The second option would be that the game is played at the same time as one of the others which would split the audience. Neither of these options are really appealing to the NFL or fans.
It can be inferred that they split it evenly to maximize viewership and minimize the fatigue that some viewers could experience after watching three games straight.
This call to action merely is a call to make the times the same on Saturday and Sunday on Wild Card Weekend, the Divisional Round, and the Conference Championships. The Super Bowl can remain at the same time it has always been. It is a special day and so the time of the game should reflect that. With that being said, what specific time would be the best?
New Time Requirements
The goal of the new standardized times would be to create times that work across the United States. This means that the times would need to be set at a time that is not too early and not too late. The times need to allow time for everyone across the United States to be able to get to their viewing parties without creating hectic mornings while leaving enough time at the end to allow kids to stay up and watch and allow adults to get home at a decent hour. Since there is a three-hour time difference between the East Coast and the West Coast, picking a time is not as simple as it sounds.
What Time Works?
Each game runs between three and four hours and there are two games per day. This means that the time block is about eight hours long at the longest.
If the West Coast starts their games at 11:00 AM PST, then the East Coast would start theirs around 2:00 PM EST. These times allow for people across the country to get to their parties without needing to rush in the mornings. The games would end between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM on the West Coast and between 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM on the East Coast.
Children can watch and adults can get home at a decent time. The times of the games would be standardized making it easier to remember when each game is played. With times like these, everyone wins!