NFL Cuts Amazon a Break, Votes to Pass 'Flex Scheduling' for 'Thursday Night Football'

Thursday Night Football
(Image credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The National Football League passed on Monday a vote by the narrowest of margins to allow Amazon to change out up to two games on its late-season Thursday Night Football schedule should they start appearing in advance to be uncompetitive matchups. 

Amazon is paying the NFL $1 billion a season for exclusive TV rights to Thursday Night Football, and the package's turkey 2022 schedule is widely believed to be a key reason why total TNF viewership was down 41% last year

Also read: Amazon Announces (Hopefully Improved) 2023 'Thursday Night Football' Schedule

League owners voted 24-8 to allow "flex scheduling" on Thursday nights, the lowest threshold possible for a passing vote. The Giants, Jets, Packers, Bears, Raiders, Detroit, Bengals and Steelers all voted against he measure. 

The NFL already allows flex scheduling for Sunday Night Football, and voted earlier to allow it for Monday Night Football, too. 

The rule affects weeks 13-17 of the regular season, impacting these games on the 2023 TNF schedule.

Week 13 - Nov. 30: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys

Week 14 - Dec. 7: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 15 - Dec. 14: Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders

Week 16 - Dec. 21: New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams

Week 17 - Dec. 28: New York Jets at Cleveland Browns 

Notably, three out of five of these games include matchups of teams that didn't make the playoffs last season, so Amazon is undoubtedly pleased. 

But there are numerous caveats:

> Amazon must provide 28 days notice if it wants to make a flex.

> No team can be compelled to play on TNF more than twice a season.

> No team can be compelled to be a road team on TNF more than once a season.

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!