Santa isn't the only one who will be delivering gifts this Christmas; the NFL is giving us one, too. For the first time in more than 10 years, the NFL season is going to include a Friday game, and that game will be played on Dec. 25 in New Orleans between the Vikings and the Saints.
When the 2020 NFL schedule was released on Thursday, it included multiple quirks, and the rare Friday game might just have been one of the most notable ones. The NFL almost never schedules Friday games because it doesn't want to interfere with the fact that most high schools play their games on Friday, but since that's not an issue on Christmas, the league went ahead and scheduled the game.
The Week 16 game will mark the first time in 11 years that the NFL has held a Friday game. The last one came in 2009 when the Titans hosted the Chargers in a game that Tennessee lost 42-17. The Friday game is so rare that there have only been 10 ever played since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, and this year's game will mark just the fifth time it's happened since 1993. This year's game will kick off at 4:30 p.m. ET and will be aired on Fox and NFL Network.
In a twist, the Vikings will tie the Rams as the team that has played the most Friday games in NFL history. This year's game will mark the third time that the Vikings have played on a Friday, which means they'll have played in three of the 11 games that have ever been played. The Vikings also played on a Friday in 1993 (14-9 win over Redskins) and 2004 (34-31 loss to Packers). Currently, the Rams are the only team that has played three Friday games (1970, 1984, 1986).
As for the Saints, this will mark the second time they've played on a Friday. Their only other appearance came in 1999 when they beat the Cowboys 31-24 in a game that was played in New Orleans.
The Friday game means that the NFL will be giving us four straight days of football in Week 16 with games being scheduled on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Although this game is being played on Christmas, that's not as a rare as a Friday game. The NFL has seen six Christmas Day games since 2010 alone, and this will be the 20th Christmas game since the NFL started playing regular season games on the holiday more than 30 years ago. As a matter of fact, the Vikings actually played in the first ever regular season Christmas game back in 1989.
As for Friday games, here's a look at their brief history in the NFL.
NFL Friday games since 1970
Sept. 18, 1970: Cardinals at Rams: Rams win 34-13
Dec. 16, 1983: Jets at Dolphins: Dolphins win 34-14
Dec. 14, 1984: Rams at 49ers: 49ers win 19-16
Dec. 20, 1985: Broncos at Seahawks: Broncos win 27-24
Dec. 19, 1986: Rams at 49ers: 49ers win 24-14
Dec. 31, 1993: Vikings at Redskins: Vikings 19-14
Dec. 24, 1999: Cowboys at Saints: Saints win 31-24
Dec. 24, 2004: Packers at Vikings: Packers win 34-31
Oct. 21, 2005: Chiefs at Dolphins: Chiefs win 30-20
Dec. 25, 2009: Chargers at Titans: Chargers win 42-17