Air-Kraft: Pats Owner Emerges In Tebow TV Tussle

The Tim Tebow tug of war between NBC and CBS is getting even tighter.

By now, the NFL should have announced the “flex game” for “Sunday Night Football” in Week 15, should NBC choose one. Clearly, they did – Patriots at Broncos, currently scheduled for a 4:15 PM (ET) kickoff on CBS.

Turns out NBC won’t be getting it without a fight – and with football ownership, mind you.

The Denver Post is reporting that Patriots owner Robert Kraft is putting his weight behind CBS, and the original “late game” afternoon start time. Pro Football Talk’s Gregg Rosenthal suggests the reasoning for Kraft siding with the Tiffany network: “The Patriots probably don’t want to take a later flight out of Denver. Kraft also has a separate business relationship with CBS, which owns a restaurant at Patriot Place in Foxborough.”

(Yes, I know it’s 2011 and I referred to CBS as “the Tiffany network.” Moving on…)

This would put Broncos legend John Elway – currently the team’s vice president of football operations – in an awkward situation. It would be the right thing for Elway, who has actually been critical of Tebow of late, despite his late-game heroics, to step up and argue in NBC’s favor to flex the Broncos/Patriots game to NBC. Kinda like a “fight fire with fire” thing.

Of course, the right thing to do in the first place would be for CBS to quit whining and let NBC have the game already. The popular vote in the Twittersphere is for the game to be moved from the regional confines of CBS, to the nationwide exposure of NBC.

But CBS probably wants to see to it that they’ll be compensated nicely for giving up the game to Al Michaels. Maybe CBS should do something crazy like, I don’t know, throw the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit into the mix.

Media observers such as Newsday’s Neil Best are admittedly “fascinated” by what has turned into a “battle royale” between two broadcast networks for the rights to show a regular-season game, not so much for its playoff implications – which, as part of NBC’s deal with the NFL, asks that its late season games possess at the very least – but for the presence of a sophomore professional football player from Florida.

I don’t think there’d be quite the kerfuffle over this game if Kyle Orton were still in Denver, do you?

There is now expected to be an official announcement by the NFL regarding “Sunday Night Football” Week 15 coming on Wednesday.

There’s the latest in the war between CBS and NBC over whether or not “Tebow Time” goes to prime time. By the way: I titled my previous post (which is actually my virgin post) “Tebow Time Ready For Prime Time?” Of course, the NFL Network-broadcast Broncos/Jets matchup was shown in primetime to at least the Eastern part of the country… but even still, the game actually started after 5 PM local time – as will the Broncos/Patriots game, should NBC prevail… okay, I’m just splitting hairs here – we all know Tim Tebow is ready for prime time – but I couldn’t bring myself to part with such a slick title for my first sports media blog post. So there.

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