In conjunction with a rundown of the regional NFL games airing on CBS and FOX in Week 15, I have somewhat of a follow-up to my post on Wednesday in light of the NFL’s new deal with the TV networks, now set to last an entire decade, and then some.
It also goes back to the hysteria from last week resulting from CBS keeping hold of this week’s Broncos/Patriots game, preventing NBC from flexing it into “Sunday Night Football” (which I still theorize was the first domino that fell and resulted in said new NFL TV deal). Instead of Tom Brady’s bout with Tim Tebow reaching the entire country via NBC, it will be seen in roughly four-fifths of the country, with some major markets, including New York and Philadelphia, missing out on what has arguably been the most anticipated regular-season game not involving a team with a perfect record.
It is likely because of this that the NFL has decided to enhance their flex scheduling capabilities – drastically.
This was included in the press release from the NFL earlier this week, but I admit I didn’t pay close enough attention to this detail. Luckily, someone else did. As I first learned via Matt Yoder at AwfulAnnouncing.com, CBS and FOX, as part of the new deal, effective 2014, will enjoy the same flex scheduling privileges as NBC. That includes the possibility of seeing an NFC matchup that you would normally see on FOX, on CBS (and likewise with an AFC game on FOX). This will be done to ensure that the most people across the country will be able to see the most interesting games – in addition to the primetime window on NBC. We kinda saw a preview of this in Week 13, when the NFL affixed the Broncos/Vikings game originally assigned to CBS (an AFC road game in NFC territory) to FOX after NBC grabbed FOX’s Lions/Saints game for primetime that same week. But come 2014, you could very well see Lions/Saints, provided both teams are competitive and NBC’s got an even more compelling matchup that night, on CBS.
As Yoder observes: “This doesn’t create complete and total chaos for which networks televise which games.” Which we also kinda saw a preview of last week as CBS and NBC fought to the death for The Chosen One vs. The Man In Uggs.
And with that, I present to you a summary of who will be calling the regional NFL games in Week 15. For the second week in a row, CBS has the double header.
CBS: If it wasn’t for the Indianapolis Colts’ 0-13 record, Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf would probably be at Lucas Oil Field this week. Instead, they’re in St. Louis, where the 2-11 Rams will host the 7-6 Cincinnati Bengals, in a game that will be seen in about 75% of the country. Meanwhile, Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts will be in Indianapolis, where the winless Colts will play the Tennessee Titans. (Footnote: The Fort Wayne CBS station will be carrying this game; the last Colts home game was actually passed up by the FOX affiliate in Fort Wayne in favor of a Bears/Raiders game; of course, the Panthers would defeat the Colts that week. Incidentally, the FOX station is airing this week’s Bears contest, as well.) And Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots will call the Dolphins and Bills in a game that has reportedly been blacked out in Buffalo; it’ll be the first Dolphins game since Miami fired head coach Tony Sparano.
FOX: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be in their familiar posts at MetLife Stadium as the Giants host the Redskins. It’s not just a coincidence that they happen to call many Giants games, is it? In all fairness, though, the duo probably may have been calling the Packers game had they been facing a different opponent. Instead, the World Champion Green Bay Packers will take their undefeated record to Kansas City, where interim head coach Romeo Crennel, like the Packers, has no losses on the season (yet). Packers/Chiefs will be seen in more areas than Redskins/Giants… whatever… They’ll probably flip over to Bengals/Rams after the Packers start pulling away… Dick Stockton and John Lynch will call Saints/Vikings in Minnesota, while Chris Myers and Tim Ryan soldier onto Soldier Field for Seahawks/Bears. Finally, the Houston Texans, whose head coach is on temporary leave after a surgical procedure, hosts the Carolina Panthers, in a game that will be called by Ron Pitts and Charles Davis.
CBS: The most anticipated matchup of the week… Jets/Eagles! (Or at least CBS thought so about two months ago.) Of course, I speak of Patriots/Broncos, which will fittingly be called by the network’s number one team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. And after all of the lengths that CBS went to in order to keep NBC from getting that game, Jim and Phil better have been supplanted in Denver for that game! Though I would have also would have appreciated it if Marv Albert called that game. As fate would have it, while Tom Brady is duking it out with Tim Tebow, Marv will be with Rich Gannon as Michael Vick squares off against Mark Sanchez in Philadelphia. And the Browns travel to Arizona, as do Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker, in a game that will only be shown in, in addition to the entire state of Arizona, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown, Ohio. By comparison, Jets/Eagles will be shown in Salisbury, MD; most of the state of Pennsylvania (KDKA in Pittsburgh will be showing Patriots/Broncos); and the entire state of New York, until WROC in Rochester opted for Patriots/Broncos (lucky them). By the way, Patriots/Broncos will not be shown in San Francisco due to…
FOX: The lone game in Fox’s late afternoon window sees the Detriot Lions traveling to Oakland to take on the Raiders; Thom Brenneman and Brian Billick – whose partner on NFL Network’s “The Coaches Show,” Jim Mora Jr., recently accepted a job offer at UCLA – will call all the action live from “the black hole”. It appears that this game will be seen in all of California, with the exception of Los Angeles, where the Fox owned-and-operated station has opted for the Redskins/Giants early game. The remaining cities the game will be shown in are mostly by virtue of their own team being involved in a game earlier in the day (Miami, St. Louis, Nashville, Indianapolis).
Information from the506.com was used in this post.