Last week, we told you about a report from the German tabloid BILD, saying that the Kansas City Chiefs would host the Chicago Bears in Germany this season — and then be the road team for a German game against the Carolina Panthers in 2024.
But on Monday — writing in his final “Football Morning in America” column before his annual summer vacation — NBC Sports’ Peter King called the BILD report into question.
I’ve been told there’s some doubt on both of those reports. First: When a team gives up one of its home games to play overseas, it has the option of requesting to the league one home game on its schedule the team does not want moved. I’m told Kansas City requested that the Chicago game not be played overseas.
As for 2024, it’s hard to imagine Carolina would not try to keep Patrick Mahomes’ only currently scheduled game in Charlotte for the next eight years at Bank of America Stadium.
You might ask, Wouldn’t Kansas City want to protect red-hot home games against Buffalo, Cincinnati and Philadelphia from moving to Germany? The league would almost certainly not schedule those games for overseas, because Germany games are played in the 9:30 a.m. ET window, which is not nearly as conducive to big ratings as are Sunday late-afternoon or primetime games.
King typically has solid reporting on how the league’s schedule will play out — and is making two excellent points: the first about Carolina’s desire to have Mahomes play in Charlotte in 2024 — and the second about scheduling big games in the early Sunday morning window. (This is probably why European games don’t tend to have two good teams playing against each other).
So we’ll just have to see. The NFL is expected to release the final 2023 schedule on Thursday evening — but King also reported on Monday that it could be delayed.
It’s still likely to be done in time for release Thursday at [7 p.m. Arrowhead Time], but I was told over the weekend it may not be finished in time. The 2023 mega-games—opening Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights, Thanksgiving Day, the new Black Friday tilt, the Sunday night game on Christmas Eve and the Monday tripleheader on Christmas — are not set in stone yet. The mega-games are usually solid by early May. The schedule crew is slated to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell [Monday] afternoon in New York, at which time more clarity on the tentpole games is expected.
Meanwhile, reported King, the NFL’s computers are still cranking out different versions of 2023’s 272-game schedule for the league to consider.