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What Time Will Football Start On The Moon?

A first-quarter moon is seen through a telescope from L'Aquila, Italy, on February 16th, 2024. (Photo by Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Countries will fight about anything, which is why they are countries. They will even fight about things they don't actually own, or even inhabit—like, say, the Moon.

Yes, we've finally gotten to the point where the question "What time is it on the Moon?" is a real thing. Given the fact that we are at best a coin flip to make it to 2030 as a species, this seems a particularly fanciful debate to have. But what the hell. Why should the Moon know peace and quiet when we can't have it here?

The White House has directed NASA to come up with a coordinated lunar time (LTC) that all the eventual inhabitants can agree upon, again assuming that our species is going to become generally commodious somewhere other than Earth. Because the lunar orbit isn't precisely synced to our terrestrial orbit, and because clocks keep time differently in lower gravity, there seems to be little taste for dividing up the Moon into 24 different time zones as the theoretical Earth guide, or 38 as is the case in realpolitik. 

We're getting lost in the weeds here, which is that nobody with lunar designs is going to listen to NASA just because NASA says so: China and Russia, for example, have never signed the Artemis Accords, which are supposed to govern how nations behave on the Moon and in space, so you can bet your zero-gravity arse they're not going to be cool with American imperialist time zone designations. Besides, Russia has 11 time zones while China has one. So good luck getting them to agree on anything.

This is, however, important for all of us because it reignites that withered old debate, "What's the best time for NFL Sundays to start?" After all, it's not like living on the Moon is going to be a drunken weekend in New Orleans anytime soon, so finding ways to keep the inhabitants from going bughouse with nothing but science to do will be vital.

The NFL Sunday debate has essentially been this: Is it better for the first slate of games to start at 1 p.m. (East Coasters) or at 10 a.m. (West Coasters)? In other words, do you want regular old wings and beer, or breakfast wings and mimosas? (While we're at it, isn't 8 a.m. the best time? Waking up for Bears-Colts seems optimal when you're in Hawaii, after all.)

This has traditionally been a "what are you used to" debate. Those of us who live our lives PST find waiting half the day for Panthers-Commanders an absurdity. If we want to involve the Moon in sports, let us begin by relegating franchises there, a sort of Phantom Zone for crap football.

We on the left side of the weather map are also gratified to know that the Sunday and Monday night games end by 8:30 and therefore don't play havoc with our sleep—although if Jets-Raiders was ever a primetime game we'd be asleep before dinner. But again, if you're used to the 1:05/4:05/8:15 windows, go with God. You're wrong, of course, but we forgive you.

Still, the Moon has its own rules, which is to say none at all, currently. The right time for Giants-Vikings could end up being 3 a.m. LTC, if there is an a.m. on a tidally locked orb. Surely the NFL already has formed a lunar subcommittee for the task, if only to give its army of underaccomplished failsons some busywork while waiting for Dad to hit the wall. It's true that the NFL has not yet successfully conquered any other countries, but it's never too soon to start planning a franchise for Elroy Jetson's dissolute great-grandchildren.

In the meantime, we await developments on America trying to bigfoot other countries on moon time, and we are sure it will happen smoothly and with universal agreement by all parties. Maybe by the time we figure out how to inhabit Neptune.

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