Why isn’t the NFL game on ESPN tonight? Explaining Week 17 broadcast shakeup for New Year’s Day

Settling in for “Monday Night Football,” only to realize there isn’t an NFL game on your TV?

This is actually the first week in the 2023 season that there isn’t at least one NFL game on Monday night.

The NFL typically takes over the majority of the national television spotlight late in the regular season, playing prime-time games on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays — and Saturdays, once the college regular season is over.

Fans get accustomed to having NFL football on four of their seven days of the week, but learn to sacrifice Mondays over the final two weeks of the regular season.

MORE: Updated standings, NFL playoff clinching scenarios for Week 17 bracket

Why isn’t there an NFL game on ESPN on the last two Mondays of the season? The Sporting News has answers below.

Why isn’t the NFL game on ESPN tonight?

There is no Week 17 “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN on New Year’s Day because of the College Football Playoff semifinals.

The NFL will allow the next generation to take the entire spotlight as ESPN broadcasts a CFP doubleheader on Monday, Jan. 1. At 5 p.m. ET, Alabama and Michigan face off in the Rose Bowl, while Texas and Washington will play in the Sugar Bowl at 8:45 p.m. ET.

MORE: TSN experts make picks for evenly matched College Football Playoff semifinals

The NFL played one game on Thursday, one game on Saturday and 14 games on Sunday in Week 17.

It will follow a similar schedule in Week 18 — with no “Monday Night Football” game — as the College Football Playoff Championship will be played on Monday, Jan. 8.

Is there another ‘Monday Night Football’ game this season?

“Monday Night Football” will return on ESPN for the first round of the NFL playoffs on Monday, Jan. 15.

The NFL first experimented with a Monday night playoff game in the 2022 postseason when the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams took down the Cardinals in an NFC Wild Card showdown.

Its resounding approval continued the trend last season when the Cowboys took down the Buccaneers in another NFC Wild Card showdown that would become Tom Brady’s final NFL game.

The matchup has not yet been decided for the “Monday Night Football” playoff game this season.

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