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NFL exec explains Jets-heavy prime-time schedule: They 'owe us one'

Michael Owens / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The New York Jets have failed to meet expectations in recent years - including last season - but the NFL wasn't afraid of putting them in prime time in 2024.

New York will have six prime-time games this season, tied for the most in the league. The Jets are the first team to have that many within the first 11 weeks in the Super Bowl era.

"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," Mike North, the NFL's vice president of broadcast partners, said Thursday, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.

The Jets will kick off their 2024 slate on the road versus the San Francisco 49ers in the season's Monday Night Football opener. The matchup will mark the return of four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, who sustained an Achilles injury four snaps into his Jets debut last year during the first Monday night of the campaign.

Rodgers was a big factor in determining N.Y.'s schedule once again, according to North.

"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," North added. "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."

The Jets, who haven't made the playoffs since the 2010 campaign, went 7-10 in 2023. New York has had an elite defense over the last two years, but its offensive struggles - particularly at quarterback - have held the team back.

The AFC East club had a busy offseason and added significant offensive players, including receiver Mike Williams and tackle Tyron Smith, among others. The team also traded for Pro Bowl pass-rusher Haason Reddick.

"Hopefully, (Rodgers) stays healthy and, hopefully, they're relevant," said North, who added that New York can still get more games in prime time because of the NFL's flex scheduling later on the season.

Here are the Jets' 2024 prime-time games:

Opp. Week Event
at SF 1 MNF
vs. NE 3 TNF
vs. BUF 6 MNF
at PIT 7 SNF
vs. HOU 9 TNF
vs. IND 11 SNF

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