Panthers vs. Buccaneers: Why the NFL Needs 9:30 A.M. Kickoffs Every Week

Panthers vs. Buccaneers: Why the NFL Needs 9:30 A.M. Kickoffs Every Week article feature image
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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: General overall view of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium exterior during an NFL International Series game

  • Sunday's Panthers vs. Buccaneers matchup in London is the first of two NFL games this season that will kickoff at 9:30 a.m. ET.
  • Find out why the NFL needs one 9:30 a.m. ET game every Sunday of the season.

For the last several years, there has been a stark divide between NFL fans who enjoy London games that kick off at 9:30 a.m. ET and the fans who hate them. I am, without a doubt, one of the former.

Why wouldn’t I want three extra hours of happiness on Sunday? And as a mother of two, I’ll take that happiness wherever I can get it … even if it’s first thing Sunday morning.

While the rest of the world is nursing Saturday night hangovers, I’m bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6 a.m., with two kids who somehow have their internal alarm clocks set to “ass crack of dawn.”

By 9:30 a.m., I’m two cups of coffee down and already waffling between starting Jared Goff or Philip Rivers. There’s no good reason why I shouldn’t be watching football as well.

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s finding legitimate excuses to booze. I did the laundry? That deserves a glass of wine. My son managed to pee IN the toilet? Beer me!

So, if football starts before noon, it’s the perfect excuse to pop that bottle of champagne and throw in some OJ as well because I’m not a total lush [pause for laughter].

Crappy matchups

Let’s be honest here, I’m not going out of my way to watch the Panthers play the Bucs, especially if it’s mixed in with the rest of the 1 p.m. matchups.

But, as a standalone game in the morning? That’s a completely different ballgame.

I’ll let early-morning football distract me from watching my daughter dip her bagel into my son’s empty cough syrup cup like she’s dunking a chicken nugget in ketchup.

Don’t worry super moms, the “cough syrup” is specifically designed for young kids and is basically just honey.

A 9:30 a.m. game is the proverbial fish tank in the room — always on in the background. I check in on it here and there, watch a couple good plays and most likely complain about my fantasy players while still going about my morning routine.

I don’t care about the West Coast

Is the 6:30 a.m. start time too early for you West Coasters? Aww, I’m sorry pumpkin …

The Pacific Time Zone already gets the best of EVERY F’ING PRIME-TIME GAME.

I haven’t seen the second half of a Sunday, Monday or Thursday night NFL game since “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” added Frank Reynolds — the greatest TV character of all-time — to the show.

There’s nothing else on

The world needs more NFL pregame like I need another helicopter parent telling me how to raise my kids.

NFL Network’s pregame starts FOUR HOURS before kickoff. To be fair, the only routine funnier than Mitch Hedberg’s standup is Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders trying to provide smart football analysis, but that’s still way too early to enjoy comedy sober.

Solution? Early kickoffs every Sunday.

Let me make this clear: No, I’m not advocating for more international games or an entire division in Europe. The NFL can pull this off here.

The league already forces every team to play at least once on Thursday night, which is dangerous for players and generally a terrible product.

Sure, some will complain at first, but trust me, New England Patriots fans are ready 24/7 for their next opportunity to throw beer in the face of an opposing player.

Packers fans will buy anything. They willingly pay $250 to own a share of the team even though the “investment” is reportedly worth about three cents.

And Cowboys fans will think however the hell Jerry Jones tells them to think. I mean, they still believe they’re “America’s Team” with only three playoff wins since 1996.

Cowboys fans will happily set their alarms for the butt crack of dawn to watch Dak Prescott collapse against any team not named the Giants, Redskins or Dolphins.