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Black Friday Dolphins-Jets: Why surprise NFL game this week is happening, and how to watch

Black Friday Dolphins-Jets: Why surprise NFL game this week is happening, and how to watch

If you have made it to this particular corner of the Internet, you likely are trying to answer one — if not all three — of the following questions:

Why is there NFL football on television during “Black Friday?”

How can I watch this game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins?

Why oh why am I watching an NFL game with Tim Boyle as one of the starting quarterbacks.

We here at SB Nation are here to help. So let’s dive into those three questions.

How can I watch the game?
Let’s start with the reason many of you are here.

You want to know exactly how to watch.

The Dolphins-Jets game will be airing exclusively on Amazon Prime Video . You do not need a Prime membership to watch, as anyone with an Amazon account will be able to stream this event via free access. You can also watch for free on Prime Video’s Twitch channel. (Twitch is also owned by Amazon).

If you are in the local market for either team, you will be able to watch this on an over-the-air station. For fans in the New York area, this game will be broadcast on the local FOX affiliate, while fans in the Miami area can catch the game on the local CBS affiliate.

The game gets underway Friday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern, with a pregame show starting at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, and viewers will have four options to choose from on Friday:

The main telecast with Al Michaels, Kirk Herbstreit, and Kaylee Hartung
The TFN alternate telecast with Next Gen Stats, featuring real-time stats and visual cues such as the incredible pre-snap blitz predictor
An alternate broadcast with the “Dude Perfect” creators
A Spanish-language telecast

Why is there an NFL game on Black Friday?
We can look at this question from two different perspectives. First, why the NFL wants to showcase a game on Black Friday, a date on the sporting calendar that has typically been reserved for the college game. Second, why Amazon, who will be broadcasting the game on Amazon Prime Video, wants to be part of this event.

Let’s start with the second question. Black Friday has traditionally been dominated by the big-box stores. According to this study from advertising company Captify, Walmart led the way last year in searches for Black Friday discounts, surging 386% when compared to the same study for 2021. Target and Kohl’s ranked second and third, respectively, in that same study.

Amazon ranked fourth in that study for 2022, after topping the list in 2021.

For many, “Cyber Monday” is the time to head to Amazon, when you are back at work and putting off that pile that you set aside when you fled the office ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. “I can put that off a little longer, and do a little more shopping before tackling that,” you think to yourself shortly after 9:00 a.m. Monday morning.

We’ve all been there.

So for Amazon, broadcasting a game on Black Friday is a way to recapture that consumer share, or perhaps at least level the playing field. Sure, consumers may still flock to big-box stores on Friday morning. But when they settle in on the couch later in the day and start looking for something to watch, an NFL game might pique their interest.

And as you might expect, Amazon has some ideas for how to translate those eyeballs into sales.

“We’re going to celebrate the fact that it’s Black Friday across the broadcast,” said Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video, to The Wall Street Journal . The broadcast will feature “shoppable ads” during the game that use QR codes, allowing viewers the opportunity to make “instant purchases.”

Such ads “close the look between advertising and commerce,” added Hopkins.

That’s Amazon’s side of things, but what about the league? Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s chief media and business officer, told The Wall Street Journal that the league has been eying this day for a long time.

“We’ve always had our eyes on that Friday,” said Rolapp. In his view, the NFL can fill fans’ appetite for football over the long holiday weekend, given that the bulk of college football games — including the highly-anticipated clash between Ohio State and Michigan, as well as the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn — do not take place until Saturday.

With Jets-Dolphins kicking off at 3:00 p.m. Eastern, that will put it up against the endings of TCU-Oklahoma and Iowa-Nebraska, which both kick off at noon Eastern. The two college games in the late-afternoon window are UTSA-Tulane, and Missouri-Arkansas.

The NFL is betting that the eyeballs will be there.

Ok fine but … Tim Boyle!?
This might be the most confusing part.

Tim Boyle?

When the NFL announced the schedule for the 2023 season, you can see why the league thought Jets-Dolphins would be a game worth showcasing, and why Amazon would be willing to come along for the ride. On the one hand you have the Dolphins, coming off a playoff appearance with even more expectations in Year Two of the Mike McDaniel Era.

On the other hand you have the Jets, and recently-acquired quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Back when the schedule was crafted, this game had a lot of juice, and for Amazon, getting the massive New York City media market to themselves on Black Friday seemed like a perfect opportunity.

Then, just four plays into the season, Rodgers went down with a torn Achilles, and everything changed. The Jets turned to Zach Wilson, offensive futility followed, and head coach Robert Saleh finally made the decision to bench Wilson on Monday, announcing their third starting quarterback of the season.

Tim Boyle, who they added in April as a free agent. Sure, they released him in August and then signed him to the practice squad, and yes he went undrafted, and yes he went 0-3 as a starter for the Lions back in 2021, but hey, it’s still football.

And the NFL — and Amazon — are betting you’ll still be watching.

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