Last Thursday, the NFL said it will announce the date and time of one of its 2022 games during the first round of the NFL Draft this Thursday night: the second Thursday Night Football game of the season on September 15. Under its new contract with the league, this will be the first game carried on Amazon’s “Prime Video” streaming service.
Three weeks ago, plugged-in NFL commentator Peter King said he was hearing that Amazon wanted the star power of the Kansas City Chiefs (and quarterback Patrick Mahomes) for its opening broadcast, which will be called by former NBC Sports play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and former ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit.
At that time, King speculated that Kansas City’s opponent for the game would be the Denver Broncos or Los Angeles Chargers. But in his “Football Morning in America” column on Monday, King doubled down on his earlier prediction — and now he says the Chargers have the inside track to face the Chiefs.
To put Patrick Mahomes in a prime-time Thursday window in Week 2 is the NFL paying homage to a new way of seeing games—streaming—while forcing traditional football consumers (fans of a certain age) to understand what they have to do to get this newfangled Amazon Prime. I’m told Amazon wants Justin Herbert-Mahomes, and there is still some sentiment to put Russell Wilson in this slot instead for the Wilson-Mahomes starpower.
This would mean that after opening the regular season on Sunday, September 11, Kansas City will face a short week before an important divisional game.
But under the preseason-to-regular-season transition that the NFL established in 2021 (which we presume will be the same in 2022), there should be an extra open week between the final preseason games and the opening of the regular season. That would give the Chiefs extra time to prepare not only for their season opener, but also for the game just four days later. Short of opening the season with a Thursday night game (a privilege typically reserved for the previous Super Bowl winner), there’s hardly a better way circumstance in which to play one.
NOTE: While Amazon’s deal for Thursday Night Football is described as “exclusive,” it’s important to note that these games will also be carried on a local television station in each team’s home market.
A few other games will be announced in early May. The complete NFL schedule will be announced on Thursday, May 12.
As a reminder, here are the Chiefs’ opponents for 2022 — one of the toughest schedules in the league:
Home games: Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills.
road games: Broncos, Raiders, Chargers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.