Super Wild Card Weekend is the best weekend of the NFL season
Damn it, Steelers, why couldn’t you earn the number one seed and a bye this year? Either that or why couldn’t you just skip the playoffs altogether?
OK, I admit that it’s a bit irrational for me to wish that the Steelers, my favorite football team to obsess over, did not make the NFL’s 2023/2024 postseason dance. However, they are going to cramp my style and stressfully interrupt my enjoyment of Super Wild Card Weekend; better known as the best weekend on the NFL’s yearly calendar (yes, even bigger than the draft).
The NFL added two more teams to its playoff field two years ago which meant that we’d get two more wildcard games. Such expansion necessitated a name-change from Wild Card Weekend to Super Wild Card Weekend.
Two games on Saturday. Three games on Sunday. ONE GAME ON MONDAY!
That’s right, just like in that one episode of The Bob Newhart Show, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that the NFL now has a wildcard playoff game on Monday Night Football. Perhaps your significant other will be angry if you decide to occupy your time with some postseason football this Monday evening, but say something offensive and buy yourself a few hours down in the tricked-out cave.
Anyway, they used to say that the Divisional Round was the best weekend on the NFL’s calendar, but it’s different now. Not only do we now get to enjoy two extra games on Super Wild Card Weekend, but if seeds five, six and seven all advance out of the wildcard round in either conference, the sixth seed (a non-division winner) plays on the road vs. the fifth seed (a non-division winner) on Divisional Round Weekend.
Try explaining that to your friend who doesn’t pay much attention to football except during the playoffs.
The Browns, the AFC’s fifth seed, could help to make that scenario come true when they take on the fourth-seeded Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. That game will air on NBC and stream on Peacock.
Speaking of the Peacock Network, it will be the first streaming network to exclusively “air” an NFL postseason game when the Dolphins take on the defending champion Chiefs at 8 p.m. on Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium. I had originally vowed not to buy Peacock just to see a playoff game, but I might change my mind.
My Steelers, a team that barely snuck into the postseason as the seventh seed, take on the second-seeded Bills at Highmark Stadium on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. on CBS. I will not enjoy this game, nope, not at all. It will be three hours of torture. Why do I put myself through this?
After that, win or lose, I will turn my attention to the NFC and the Packers/Cowboys game on Fox at 4:30 p.m. Actually, if the Steelers win, I will be on Twitter (X) talking a bunch of smack about how nobody gave Pittsburgh a chance, but I will be doing so while glancing up at the NFC game on Fox. If the Steelers do win, I’ll also likely have to field a phone call from my giddy brother, who will tell me that he told me Pittsburgh would win. “You didn’t believe me,” he’ll say. Of course, he says they’ll win every game ever, so he’s bound to be right every now and then.
Later that evening, I will bowl and watch the third-seeded Lions Lions host the sixth-seeded Rams in a wildcard game that will air at 8 p.m. on NBC (and stream on Peacock, of course). The Lions will be trying to win their first playoff game since January 5, 1992–or back when I was still a teenager. It will be the Lions’ first postseason game at Ford Field, a venue that opened in 2002 and has already hosted a Super Bowl, the Final Four, the Frozen Four and the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
Finally, on Monday Night Football, the Eagles, the defending NFC Champions, will travel to Raymond James Stadium to take on the Buccaneers, winners of the NFC South. The game will air on ESPN, ABC and ESPN+ at 8 8 p.m., and you’ll either see the collapsing Eagles lose or Baker Mayfield lose. Either way, lots of people are going to like it.
Man, I’m so stoked. This is going to be a great weekend.
Go NFL playoff football!