There were a few fans that were disappointed that next week’s game at Denver was not flexed to Sunday night, but even so there are very few out of town fans that will not be able to watch this game from their home; 87% of the nation’s television markets will have access to the game between the Patriots and the Broncos. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be the announcers.
Five stations in Ohio and three in Arizona are stuck with the Browns at Cardinals clunker. Five stations in Pennsylvania and eight in New York will be treated to the battle between the most miserable fans (aka Jets at Eagles); Cincinnati, Fort Myers, Miami and West Palm Beach are also currently scheduled to get that game for some unknown reason. I am sure those will be switched by the end of the week, as will many of the northern New York stations that are listed for this game as of this moment. San Francisco is shut out due to Oakland playing at home late, and the NFL’s rule that no other game can be on television when the local team is playing at home.
Rather than list all 176 CBS stations that will get the Pats-Broncos game, here is a list of the 26 markets that will not be airing this matchup.
Browns at Cardinals
– Arizona: Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma
– Ohio: Cleveland, Columbus, Lima, Toledo, Youngstown
Jets at Eagles
– Florida: Fort Myers, Miami, West Palm Beach
– New York: Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Elmira, New York, Rochester, Syracuse, Watertown
– Ohio: Cincinnati
– Pennsylvania: Altoona, Erie, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Scranton
– California: San Francisco
In the list above the cities in italics are either primary or secondary markets of the local team and either cannot, or won’t be expected to change games. The primary market has to televise each of these games; the secondary market is required to broadcast all of the road games for that team.
One last tidbit, regarding the topic of discussion of flexing the Pats-Broncos game that was raised last week. Peter King of Sports Illustrated – and NBC – had this column today which started off with that subject matter.
I can tell you this: The NFL would have moved Denver-New England to prime time if Jacksonville beat San Diego last Monday. There was still some internal debate to be had when San Diego won the game, but the NFL decided it couldn’t justify taking the game from CBS.
Flex scheduling was designed with this primary objective — to avoid a dog game. Baltimore-San Diego’s not a dog at all. It’s not Tebowmania, but those are the breaks.
Now, in the aftermath of the decision, it’s been assumed that one of the league’s powerful owners, Robert Kraft of the Patriots, had a major hand in keeping the game in the afternoon. An afternoon game in Mountain Time means the Patriots would get back to New England at about 2 a.m. If the game had been moved, their charter would return at about 6 a.m. Monday. With a Saturday afternoon game looming the following weekend, obviously the Patriots’ preference would have been to play in the afternoon. I’m told two things reliably: Yes, Kraft did tell the league he wanted the game kept in the afternoon. No, Kraft did not strongarm the league in any way about it. “Categorically not,” said a league source. “It’s baloney. Whoever says that doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
As for the other games, the primary early game on CBS will be Cincinnati at St. Louis, with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf; the primary game on Fox will have Troy Aikman and Joe Buck calling the Redskins at Giants.
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