List of National Football League Christmas games broadcasters
The following is a list of the television networks and announcers to have broadcast the rare occasions in which National Football League games have been played on Christmas Day.
Christmas Eve games
There have also been several games played on Christmas Eve over the years, the most famous of these being an Oakland Raiders-Baltimore Colts playoff contest in 1977 which culminated in a play immortalized as "Ghost to the Post". The "Ghost to the Post" game was broadcast on NBC with Curt Gowdy and John Brodie on the call. These games have typically been played early in the afternoon out of deference to the holiday. If Christmas Day falls on a Sunday (most recently in 2011), then most of the weekend's NFL games will be on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, except for a few games played on Thursday, Sunday, or Monday night in the league's regular prime-time TV packages.
The 2004 season featured a Christmas Eve matchup on Friday afternoon, one of the rare instances when the league has played on Friday. The game (Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings for the NFC North title) aired on Fox with Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Cris Collinsworth on the call; Green Bay defeated Minnesota by a score of 34–31. Prior to that, the last Christmas Eve Friday game was played in 1999 when the New Orleans Saints defeated the Dallas Cowboys on Fox with Pat Summerall and John Madden on the call.
2006 saw Christmas Eve land on a Sunday. While the regular NFL schedule of games for Sunday was played, no Sunday night game was scheduled. Instead, two games were played on Christmas Day. NBC, who was under contract to air the Sunday night game, aired the first Christmas Day game pitting the Philadelphia Eagles against the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium, with a 5:00 p.m. Eastern kickoff. ESPN followed at 8:30 p.m. with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football.
In 2007, Christmas Eve landed on a Monday. This proved especially problematic; the league's television contract with ESPN requires the league to provide 17 Monday Night Football games over the course of the first 16 weeks of the season (the league no longer schedules a Monday night game for the final weekend of the season, for multiple reasons). In seasons past, the league compensated for an instance like this by giving ESPN or ABC an extra Saturday or Thursday night game later in the season, but this was no longer possible because the new television contract gave the rights to those games to NFL Network. Thus, with the league already stretching its limits by placing a Monday night doubleheader on opening weekend, this meant that every available Monday night would have to air at least one game, even if it were Christmas Eve. To ease the issue, the game was scheduled between two West Coast teams, the Denver Broncos at the San Diego Chargers, so that the game could start at 5:00 p.m. local time.