Syndication: The Record
Chris Pedota, / USA TODAY NETWORKCredit: Chris Pedota, / USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s not just your imagination. You will be seeing the Jets on primetime practically every other week this season.

And it’s deliberate, too. In fact, an NFL spokesman is on the record admitting that the NFL thinks the Jets “owe” them primetime mania due to Aaron Rodgers’ torn achilles in Week 1 last year.

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Jets ‘Owe’ The NFL?

Frankly, it was one of the worst days for the NFL in a long time. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a homer and Aaron Rodgers is the greatest Packer to ever put on the Big G.

Rodgers is a special player and a special talent, and the game is simply better and more fun when he’s on the field. So when he went down just four plays into the season, we were all – NFL fans – robbed of an exciting Jets season. Possibly even postseason. Maybe even more.

It’s in that spirit, I’m guessing, that the NFL’s VP of Broadcast Partners, Mike North, said the Jets owe one to the NFL.

“Yes, it’s an awful lot of prime-time games early in the season, but, obviously, I feel like Jets kind of owe us one,” North said.

“When we had this conversation a year ago, we were — all of us — all-in on the Jets, and for that guy to last four plays was disheartening for many of us. I feel like we could run it back, and certainly our broadcast partners, when they came to us early in the process talking about what storylines they want to focus on early in the season, obviously Aaron Rodgers’ return was a key one for everybody.”

It’s an interesting admission. Everyone knows the primetime games are (or were, before the latest CBA) designed entirely to draw eyeballs, not to be “fair.” But to see it so brazenly discussed seems… gauche? Is that the right word for it?

Syndication: The Record
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The Jets’ Primetime Schedule

Let’s just take a quick gander at the Jets’ schedule for this season. I’ll put the primetime games in bold for good measure.

  • Week 1 – at San Francisco 49ers – Monday Night Football
  • Week 2 – at Tennessee Titans
  • Week 3 – hosting New England Patriots – Thursday Night Football
  • Week 4 – hosting Denver Broncos
  • Week 5 – at Minnesota Vikings in England
  • Week 6 – hosting Buffalo Bills – Monday Night Football
  • Week 7 – at Pittsburgh Steelers – Sunday Night Football
  • Week 8 – at New England Patriots
  • Week 9 – hosting Houston Texans – Thursday Night Football
  • Week 10 – at Arizona Cardinals
  • Week 11 – hosting Indianapolis Colts – Sunday Night Football
  • Week 12 – BYE
  • Week 13 – hosting Seattle Seahawks
  • Week 14 – at Miami Dolphins
  • Week 15 – at Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Week 16 – hosting Los Angeles Rams
  • Week 17 – at Buffalo Bills
  • Week 18 – hosting Miami Dolphins – TBD

It’s absolute mayhem over at the NFL scheduling offices. The Jets have six – count ’em six – primetime games in the first 11 weeks. Not counting the game overseas, and not counting a Week 18 tilt against the Dolphins, which could become a primetime game, depending on how the season shakes out.

Look, I don’t know if the Jets “owe” the NFL a damn thing. Rodgers certainly didn’t choose that awful nightmare. But if you’re a Jets fan, an Aaron Rodgers fan, or just a fan of football, the NFL is going to force-feed you a good time whether you like it or not!

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