The NFL gave the Jets six early prime-time games because they “kind of owe us one.”

The NFL gave the Jets six early prime-time games because they “kind of owe us one.”

The Jets have seven standalone games — six of them in prime time — through the first 11 weeks of the season. During a conference call Thursday with reporters, Mike North, the NFL’s vice president of broadcast planning, gave a surprisingly frank explanation.

“Yes, there are too many prime-time games at the beginning of the season, but obviously, I feel like the Jets owe us something“,” North said, via Rich Cimini of (Thank you, Rich, for writing this letter. I’ve been putting off work again by recording the hour-long call to find the right spot.)

“When we had this conversation a year ago, we were all involved in the Jets game, and for this guy to go on four plays was frustrating for a lot of us,” North added. “I feel like we can bring things back, and certainly our broadcast partners, when they came to us early in the process to talk about the storylines that they wanted to focus on early in the season, obviously having Aaron Rodgers back was key for everyone. . . . We hope “He stays healthy, and we hope these things are relevant.”

The schedule, of course, will make it difficult for him to stay healthy. Three games in 10 days to start the season, a full year since he played four snaps. He will play twice on Sunday and then again on Thursday. (If he stays healthy long enough to do so.)

And the idea that planes “owe us one” seems a little strange. The Jets don’t owe anyone anything. They didn’t have a disastrous season on purpose. They wanted Rodgers to play all year. They gain no unfair benefit from not fulfilling a prime-time promise the NFL made last year by making the Jets one of the showcase teams for the 2023 schedule.

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Really, why would anyone assume that a 39-year-old quarterback would stay healthy all year? Why would anyone assume that would happen this year?

To maximize their chance at redemption, the league gave the Jets a schedule that includes all primetime games before their Week 12 bye. If Rodgers survives and if the Jets are still in contention, they will be in the mix in order to move more games to later timeslots. (Welcome?)

No matter how things go, the Jets shouldn’t be put in a tougher position this year because they finished in the toughest spots last year. Although it’s important for the NFL to appease broadcast partners and the goal, as always, is to maximize ratings, it seems unfair to saddle the Jets and their 40-year-old quarterback for so many night games and two short two-week games. . games in the first half of the season, simply because they only got four snaps from Rodgers in 2023.

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