The NFL pretty much rules the world, and doesn't really care what you think about it, which is why the Ravens will be playing at Pittsburgh on Christmas Day.
It's a terrible idea. The only worse idea might be playing on Christmas Eve night -- but the NFL has that covered too, with the Bengals visiting the Texans.
Granted, I have no doubt that around the Baltimore area, some Ravens fans will be beside themselves with joy to find tickets to Heinz Field under the Christmas tree -- the game isn't until 4:25, after all, which leaves plenty of time to open the presents, enjoy Christmas brunch and then take a trip up the turnpike.
But they will have made the choice to spend their Christmas that way. What about the thousands of others who don't get the choice?
What about the stadium workers who have to be at Heinz Field by 1 or 1:30 on Christmas afternoon? Christmas dinner? Sorry, they'll be tied up at the stadium until about 8 or 9 p.m. at least. What about the parking attendants who get to spend their Christmas freezing along Ridge Avenue or North Shore Drive? What about all the extra traffic control, stadium operations staff and others who work behind the scenes each Sunday?
Sure, the workers will get overtime, and might like the bump in pay, but I'm guessing some of them would actually prefer to spend Christmas at home with their families instead. The NFL doesn't really care an ounce of egg nog about that, or them.
To be clear, I understand that the NFL isn't the only offender here. The NBA has held Christmas Day games for years that draw good ratings. Movie theaters do brisk business on Christmas. But none of that makes it right.
The thing is, Christmas Day games could easily be avoided; the entire NFL slate could be played on Christmas Eve day, with the Monday night game on Dec. 26. The last time Christmas fell on a Sunday (2011), the NFL scheduled one game on Thursday, 13 on Christmas Eve afternoon, one on Christmas night and one on Dec. 26. The only difference this year is the addition of the Christmas day game, featuring the Ravens.
Wait a second ... I thought the NFL got religion back in 2013, remember? Isn't that why the NFL wouldn't allow the Ravens to host that post-Super Bowl season-opener on Wednesday? It was concerned that it would conflict with Rosh Hashana, remember? So isn't it also concerned with a Christmas conflict? Oh, wait a minute -- the NFL was far more concerned with having that 2013 opener in a Thursday time slot, and there was that whole conflict with the Orioles game. Sorry Ravens, hit the road.
The NFL didn't care then, and it doesn't now. So Merry Christmas Mr. Heinz Field beer vendor, Ms. Parking Attendant, Ms. Club Suite Assistant. Now shut up and report to work.