Does Short Rest Matter? NFL Moves One Wild Card Playoff Game To Monday

Written By Brett Gibbons on September 24, 2021
NFL Monday Playoff Game

On Friday morning, the NFL announced it would be adjusting its Super Wild Card Weekend, creating the first NFL Monday Playoff game. It drew immediate mixed reviews from fans and media. Like it or not, it’s the plan for at least this season.

The news was first hinted during Thursday Night Football and confirmed in a press release Friday.

So, what does the updated schedule look like?

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Super Wild Card Weekend 2021 schedule

Saturday: Two games at 4:35p ET and 8:15p ET

Sunday: Three games at 1:05p ET, 4:40p ET, and 8:15p ET

Monday: One game at 8:15p ET

According to the NFL’s release, CBS and NBC have broadcasting rights to two games each while FOX and ABC/ESPN have rights to one each. The NFL has not yet determined who will broadcast the Monday game.

While not necessarily indicative of who that network will be, ESPN currently has the Monday Night Football broadcasting rights while CBS aired the Saturday 1:05 p.m. ET game from last year (the game that moved to Monday).

Reactions to the NFL Monday Playoff game

Pushback to the NFL Monday playoff game wasn’t unexpected. When the NFL added a playoff team for the 2020 season, there were plenty of people who disagreed with the decision.

However, there was a large section of those concerned about player safety and the fairness of rest. Leading the charge is Warren Sharp (who also happens to contribute to NBC Sports, an NFL broadcast partner), who noted the records of playoff teams on short rest (previously Sunday to Saturday). According to Sharp, Sunday winners in the Wild Card round won 48% of their next games played on Sunday (13-14). However, Sunday winners won just 25% of their next games played on Saturday (3-9).

He also noted that teams who played a Sunday-Sunday split covered the spread 73% of the time (19-7-1) while just 50% when playing Sunday-Saturday (6-6).

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Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

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