One of the first things fans do when the NFL schedule drops is look for all of the primetime games for their favorite team. Getting on the national stage while playing under the lights is just a special feeling for teams and fans alike.
Unfortunately for Detroit Lions fans, when the 2020 schedule dropped on Thursday night, they were left with no primetime games to get excited about—only their annual Thanksgiving Day classic to give them a national stage.
Assuming no late-season Lions games are flexed into a Saturday or Sunday night spot, this will be the first time since 2010 that Detroit didn’t have a single night game.
And it turns out they are mostly alone in that designation this year. The only other team without a primetime game currently scheduled for 2020 is Washington, one of the two teams that finished last season with a worse record than Detroit.
While it’s not a great distinction to have, it’s not all bad for the Lions. As noted by former NFL guard T.J. Lang, primetime games are really mostly for the fans benefit. A lot of players actually hate it:
I know the fans love them, but most players despise night games. Want to wake up and head to the stadium.— TJ Lang (@TJLang70) May 8, 2020
Additionally, just because a team isn’t viewed as worthy of a primetime spot at this point in the offseason doesn’t mean they are doomed for failure that season. In fact, ESPN pointed out two of the last three teams without a primetime game actually made the playoffs that year.
The Lions and Redskins are the only 2 teams without a primetime game scheduled this season.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 8, 2020
Two of the last 3 teams to have that happen made the playoffs (2017 Jaguars & 2019 Bills). pic.twitter.com/jijJ3T0g6g
So while it’s certainly a little disappointed to see the Lions get disrespected—even if it’s well-earned—it’s not really a bad thing for the franchise, necessarily.