49ers 2014 schedule rumors: Team could be in hunt for Thanksgiving game

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers could be in play for a Thanksgiving home game in 2014. We break down the rumor.

Fooch's Update: 49ers schedule has been released!

Matt Maiocco wrote an article earlier today stating that the 49ers and Raiders were unlikely to play a preseason game for the third straight season. It's notable because the two teams had a history of playing each other in the preseason, until in-game and post-game violence led to the cancellation of the series. Additionally, the two teams will square off this year at the Oakland Coliseum in a regular season matchup. My guess is the preseason series picks back up in 2015 at Levi's Stadium.

While that's all well and good, the most interesting part of the article came at the end:

During the first season at Levi's Stadium, the 49ers will not play any Monday night games at home due to the first-year traffic and parking complications from hosting weekday games. However, the 49ers are in play for a home Thanksgiving night game.

The 49ers last played on Thanksgiving in 2011 when they traveled to face the Baltimore Ravens. Prior to that, they had last played on Thanksgiving in 1972 at the Dallas Cowboys. They've played five Thanksgiving games, and none of them have been at home.

The new stadium ran into parking issues for this season, with initial reports indicating there would be no week day prime time games in 2014. However, by January there were reports they might be able to get prime time games by the end of the season. If it's not a guarantee, I'm guessing the NFL would not be overly inclined to give them week day prime time games in case there are problems. The Thanksgiving game would not be an issue because it is a holiday, so the extra parking they'll use on weekends would likely be available for the day.

The NFL releases the complete schedule in mid-April, and the 49ers will likely get their now usual allotment of five prime time games. There is a good chance they end up on the season opening Thursday kick-off game up in Seattle. That will likely leak out before the full schedule is released. While the NFL could get big ratings for any kickoff opener, 49ers-Seahawks could allow the NFL to crow once again about their huge ratings. I suspect 49ers-Seahawks would go down as one of the most watched NFL regular season games in recent history. And the NFL does love setting records.

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