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NFL announces that Twitter will stream Thursday Night Football games in 2016

Ten of this year's TNF games will be streamed online for free this year, with no need for a cable subscription.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The National Football League made a bit of a surprising announcement on Tuesday morning. While the league has been expanding its broadcasts of the Thursday Night Football games, they also have been working with online partners to stream the games online.

Apparently the league has come to an agreement, and it is with a service not typically known for its video streaming capabilities:

The league's press release specifies that the 10 Thursday games in 2016 that will be shown on broadcast television - either NBC or CBS - will be the ones streamed online. The games which are set to be broadcast only on NFL Network will not be shown online except on the NFL Network's website (which requires a cable subscription).

The league has dabbled in online media before - one of the London games was broadcast exclusively via online streaming on Yahoo! and last January they entered into an agreement with Google to allow highlights on Youtube (although those videos cannot be embedded in other pages - like Acme Packing Company articles, for example). This, however, is the first commitment to showing a significant quantity of live games online to viewers without a cable subscription.

The league is planning to schedule at least one Thursday game for each NFL team this season, and each team is expected to wear "Color Rush" uniforms in those games. So far there are no details about what sort of uniform the Green Bay Packers would wear under this program.

This appears to be a sign that the league recognizes that more and more people are embracing online-based entertainment rather than conventional television broadcasts. We can only hope that the league continues to expand legitimate online streaming avenues in the future.