After spending the past five monthsof whether to eliminate the 9:30 a.m. ET kickoff time from the NFL schedule, the league has decided to keep the early London game for at least one more season.
The NFL announced Monday that the Dolphins’ Week 4 game against the Saints will kick off from Wembley Stadium at 9:30 a.m. ET on Oct. 1. For fans in New Orleans, that means that game will kickoff at 8:30 a.m., which means if you’re tailgating at home for that game, you’ll need to have the beer out by 8 a.m.
The announcement that the game will kick off at 9:30 a.m. ET is somewhat of a surprise becausethe NFL was going to eliminate the early kickoff time. Two of the concerns that the league had with the early kickoff is that it was an oversaturation of football (14 STRAIGHT HOURS ON SUNDAY), not to mention the fact that a quarter of the country probably wouldn’t be watching.
That quarter of the country is located in the Pacific Time Zone, where the games kick off at 6:30 a.m. ET. As someone who lives in the Pacific Time Zone, I could list off about 175 things that I like better than 6:30 a.m. football, but I won’t do that here because it would take all day to write and you would just get bored reading it.
The 9:30 a.m. kickoffin 2014, and the NFL liked it so much that in 2015. In 2016, every game in London kicked off at 9:30 a.m., including a game with the Rams, which meant fans in Los Angeles had to wake up at 6:30 a.m. to watch.
Although the Dolphins-Saints game will kick off at 9:30 a.m., that might not be the case for the other three London games in 2017. The NFL hasn’t announced the kickoff times for Ravens-Jaguars, Browns-Vikings or Cardinals-Rams. If the league wants anyone at all to be watch the Cardinals-Rams game, they probably should make sure it doesn’t kick off at 9:30 a.m. ET.