NFL sends Broncos a brutal message with 2024 schedule release

The NFL is looking down on the Broncos in 2024
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

The NFL schedule release is as much of a message being sent to every team as it is anything else. You can glean a lot from the schedule in terms of what the NFL thinks of each respective team and how competitive they're going to be in a given season, and the NFL clearly thinks the Denver Broncos stink.

The Broncos received two primetime games in the 2024 season. Only five NFL teams received one primetime game or less. Not even two matchups against the Kansas City Chiefs could land the Broncos an additional game in a primetime slot.

The days of the Broncos maxing out the primetime NFL windows are gone for now. They are going to have to earn that kind of status again. Out of the 32 teams in the NFL, 22 teams received three or more primetime games. And it isn't just that the Broncos only got two primetime games -- one of them is a Thursday Night Football game. The Broncos will not be featured on Sunday Night Football a single time in 2024.

It's the ultimate sign that the NFL thinks the Broncos are going to be bad this year. Not only are the Broncos not going to be on Sunday Night Football this year, but they have just three games in the 2:25 PM MT window.

Why is that significant?

The NFL typically pushes the prominent late-window games into the 2:25 PM MT window. The Broncos play almost all of their home games in the late-afternoon window, and are often at least one of the featured games in that later window. Not in the 2024 season. The NFL has the Broncos playing in the 2:05 PM MT window six times this coming season and four times in the 11:00 AM MT window.

Simply put, the NFL just doesn't think the Broncos are worthy of getting as many eyes on as possible this season. This is a team that won eight games last year and drafted a quarterback in the first round. But the perception of the Broncos from the outside is extremely obvious at this point.

The NFL certainly isn't going to bank its ratings on the Broncos in 2024, that much is clear. It could be worse -- the Broncos could be the Panthers (who have zero primetime games). But that's not the curve you want to be graded on. The Panthers were literally the worst team in the league last year.

The Broncos have two games late in the season -- on the road vs. Cincinnati and at home against the Chiefs -- in which the NFL could flex into a prime slot, but that remains to be seen. For now, the message is clear, and it's unfortunate for many out-of-market Broncos fans. There will basically be no choice but to pay up for NFL Sunday Ticket or find other creative ways to watch games.

The league has spoken.