2013 NFL Schedule: The Primetime Games: Broncos, Falcons, 49ers, Giants, Patriots, Redskins Have Five Games Each







Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will play five games in primetime this season, starting with the 2013 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9 on ESPN.

Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will play five games in primetime this season, starting with the 2013 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9 on ESPN.

Here is the list of all the primetime games scheduled for the 2013 NFL season.

Commentary to follow… Actually, I’ll get the back-patting out of the way early: I called the Ravens/Broncos opener on September 5, and I called the Washington Redskins getting five primetime games this season, up from just one last year.

And here are the games:

Thursday, September 5 – Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, September 8 – New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 9 – Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins – 7:10 PM ET – ESPN

Monday, September 9 –  Houston Texans @ San Diego Chargers – 10:20 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 12 – New York Jets @ New England Patriots – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 15 – San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 16 – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 19 – Kansas City Chiefs @ Philadelphia Eagles – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 22 – Chicago Bears @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 23 – Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 26 – San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 29 – New England Patriots @ Atlanta Falcoms – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 30 – Miami Dolphins @ New Orleans Saints – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 3 – Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 6 – Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 7 – New York Jets @ Atlanta Falcons – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 10 – New York Giants @ Chicago Bears – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 13 – Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 14 – Indianapolis Colts @ San Diego Chargers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 17 – Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 20 – Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 21 – Minnesota Vikings @ New York Giants – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 24 – Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 27 – Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 28 – Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 31 – Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 3 – Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 4 – Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 7 – Washington Redskins @ Minnesota Vikings – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 10 – Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 11 – Miami Dolphins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 14 –Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 17 – Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 18 – New England Patriots @ Carolina Panthers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 21 – New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 24 – Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 25 – San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 28 (Thanksgiving) – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, December 1 – New York Giants @ Washington Redskins – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 2 – New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 5 – Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 8 – Atlanta Falcons @ Green Bay Packers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 9 – Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 12 – San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 15 – Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 16 – Baltimore Ravens @ Detroit Lions – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Sunday, December 22 – New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 23 – Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Sunday, December 29 – [Teams to be determined following Week 16] – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

TEAMS WITH FIVE PRIMETIME GAMES: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins.

TEAMS WITH FOUR PRIMETIME GAMES: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks.

TEAMS WITH THREE PRIMETIME GAMES: Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers.

TEAMS WITH TWO PRIMETIME GAMES: Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

TEAMS WITH ONE PRIMETIME GAME: Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans.


OBSERVATIONS: So, let me get this straight: The Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl, yet the runner-up gets one more primetime game in the ensuing season than the World Champions? Explain that to me.

Also, explain to me how the NFL didn’t greenlight the Denver Broncos going to Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. This was a given when the AFC opponents for the Cowboys were released at the top of the year. Or so I thought. Now, it’s going to be a chance to pass out with tryptophan in between another Packers/Lions matinee and the Ravens hosting another Thanksgiving night game, this time against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

I wonder if Peyton Manning not getting a Thanksgiving date with Tony Romo was a byproduct of the Broncos actually hosting the NFL kickoff game.

Predictably, the Eagles/Chiefs game with Andy Reid bringing a new squad into Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia is an NFL Network Thursday night affair.

Predictably, that’s the Chiefs’ lone primetime game. The Jaguars’ sole primetime tilt in 2013 is also on NFLN, as was the case last year. Ditto for the Browns and the Bills, who actually play each other on an NFLN game; the Bills and the Dolphins killed two birds with one Thursday night primetime stone last season.

Thr Dolphins improve from one primetime game last year to three this year. Same with the Vikings. The Colts go from one primetime game last season to four this season. And I’ve already told you about the Redskins’ maxing out at five games, up from one last year.

Further proof NBC loves the NFC East: The Cowboys and Giants open the “Sunday Night Football” 2013 campaign. The Cowboys will appear on “SNF” three times this year, as will the Giants. Two of the Redskins’ five night contests are on NBC; two of them will air on ESPN. Eagles? Nowhere to be found on NBC’s initial schedule. Of course, the latter half of the season allows flex scheduling, so if the Eagles are actually a good team, they’ll likely see more than just the two games (down from five last year() they’ve been scheduled this year. In other words: the Cowboys/Eagles game that was not flexed out late last season might be the last time in awhile you’ll hear Al Michaels working an Eagles game.

And for the first time in recent memory, there are no Saturday games scheduled. The Bay City Rollers will now have to find alternate ways to be preoccupied this year.

Go 46ers! Jefferson City, MO TV Station Blacks Out During Super Bowl Text Messages







A Missouri television station erroneously reported that the San Francisco 49ers won Super Bowl XLVII via text message. That was after they first reported that the Baltimore Ravens had beat the "46ers" to win the Super Bowl.

A Missouri television station erroneously reported that the San Francisco 49ers won Super Bowl XLVII via text message. That was after they first reported that the Baltimore Ravens had beat the “46ers” to win the Super Bowl.

It was a Super Bowl that was watched by a great amount of people, even with a half-hour delay due to a stadium blackout in New Orleans.

But when the final seconds ticked off in Super Bowl XLVII, a television station’s news department fumbled not once, but twice, in relaying the final score to viewers subscribed to their “Textcaster” feature.

Of course, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31.

But according to KMIZ/”ABC 17″ in Jefferson City, Missouri, the Ravens actually beat the “San Francisco 46ers.” (Did a few states secede during that blackout?)

Immediately, the people in charge of the text service corrected the information – or so they thought.

“Correction,” read the subsequent text message. “San Francisco 49ers win Super Bowl 34-31.”

Not only did KMIZ give the 49ers their name back, they also handed them the Lombardi Trophy.

Was Brian Billick minding their texts?

Finally, a third text message was sent, reading: “After a few mistakes on our part, it was the Ravens over the 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII. Apologies.”

Okay – if they had simply corrected the name of the team from the “46ers” to the “49ers,” we’d give them the benefit of the doubt. But following up that error with another one is just downright sloppy texting.

And what if you were one of the few people in mid-Missouri who could not watch the big game, that actually depended on these text messages for information?

I reached out to News Press & Gazette Broadcasting, the company that owns KMIZ-TV, and a person named Justin would not comment beyond saying “it was a mistake from our news department.” He also could not confirm how many viewers, if any, unsubscribed from the station’s text message service as a result of their Super snafu over the weekend.

Hey, we’re human. We are all not immune from mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. I get that.

But needing to send three texts for a simple score of the most popular football game of the year?

I suppose sending those texts while driving would make matters worse.

Barry Switzer Wants "Some Female" To Prove Him Wrong About "Option Football"







“Can’t wait till some female tells me option football will work in [the] NFL,” tweeted former Fox Sports personality Barry Switzer as Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers prevailed over the Green Bay Packers in the NFL playoffs.

As Colin Kaepernick led the San Francisco 49ers to a win over the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night, thanks in part to a record 183 rushing yards, which was the most for any quarterback in a single game, playoffs or otherwise, former Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer, a former panelist on Fox’s “NFL Sunday” program who occasionally can be heard on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, decided to give his two cents about the pros and cons of the style of play Kaepernick exhibited in the game, option football.

Basically, according to Switz, if arguments pro-option football come from a particular gender, that’s a big con in his book.

Among the first to respond to his tweet were, naturally, female followers:

And, of course, there’s the usual spellcheckers who take Switzer to task on his use of apostrophes – or in the case of the word “tell’s”, his misuse of them.

Over 1 Million Viewers Watched "Sunday Night Football" On NBCSN During Obama Newtown Address


NBC Sports Network viewership reached seven digits during the period NBC shifted “Sunday Night Football” to the channel as President Obama spoke in Newtown, CT on December 16.

Let me preface this post by saying this: There is absolutely nothing good that could ever come out of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. There can be no benefit at all after somebody takes over two dozen innocent lives, including twenty children.

Anyway, on Sunday night, just as the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots were about to kick off on “Sunday Night Football” in Foxboro, Massachusetts, some 150 miles away, President Obama was set to give a speech at a prayer vigil in Newtown for the shooting victims.

At that point, NBC directed viewers to watch the beginning of the 49ers/Patriots game on either CNBC or NBC Sports Network, while NBC carried Obama’s speech.

The fact that live sports programming aired on CNBC is nothing new – they carried Stanley Cup Playoff games earlier this year. And of course, both CNBC and NBCSN were widely-viewed outlets during this year’s London Olympics, where the channel formerly known as Versus saw some of its highest audience shares in network history.

And perhaps it was their Olympic coverage that helped engrain NBCSN – and more importantly, its channel position – into viewers’ minds, so that they would know where to go to punch up the network, especially in a locked-out season of the NHL, a league whose rights NBCSN has heavily invested in.

Numbers don’t lie: According to figures from Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, over 2.6 million viewers were tuned into either CNBC or NBCSN for the twenty-five minute period from the beginning of the game, to about 8:55 PM ET, when President Obama punctuated his speech by reading the names of the twenty innocent boys and girls that were senselessly killed on December 14.

And while CNBC had more viewers during this period, there was only a difference of 156,000 viewers betweem the two networks: CNBC, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, had 1,397,000 viewers, while NBC Sports Network, currently available in around 75 million households, had 1,241,000 viewers.

That has to be a promising sign for a network that is vying to become a worthy alternative to ESPN. They overcame a slow start in the first quarter, bouncing back in the summer with the aforementioned Olympics and NHL playoff games.

And don’t forget, they also reeled in Dan Patrick’s television feed of his radio show – so with the Olympics long over, I’m willing to bet that a large portion of those 1.2 million viewers that found NBCSN were likely “Dan Patrick Show” viewers. After all, it’s the only visible daily programming that’s on the network – well, at least until Michelle Beadle begins her new show on the channel next year.

Overall, the 49ers/Patriots matchup was the second most-watched edition of “SNF” this year, trailing the season opener with the Denver Broncos and their new (old) quarterback, Peyton Manning, battling the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While the NBC broadcast network is tied up with an NFL broadcast package, I wouldn’t say that this will be the last time a live NFL game was shown on NBCSN. The league-owned NFL Network may be contemplating giving the rights to its recently expanded Thursday night football package to another network – maybe TNT, perhaps that new sports network Fox is constructing, or it might be NBC’s new sports network, which is a work in progress.

But the number of people that tuned into the network on Sunday night, who more than likely had no advanced notice of such a programming shuffle beforehand, has to be good news for NBC Sports Group.

Of course, I’m sure NBC and everyone else would have preferred that the bad news that prompted the temporary “SNF” move to NBCSN, as well as CNBC, never happened in the first place.

Cowboys/Redskins An Early Favorite For "Sunday Night Football" In Week 17 (Update: It's Official)

The rematch of Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins’ Thanksgiving Day victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17 could be flexed into primetime on NBC. It would be the second straight year that an NFC East showdown in the final week of the regular season would be rescheduled to “Sunday Night Football.”

It’s hard to believe just two more weeks of the NFL regular season remain.

And that means we draw ever closer to the inevitable – okay, besides going to the mall to return that unwanted sweater you got for Christmas. Week 17, which for the third season in a row under Commissioner Roger Goodell, will consist entirely of matchups between division rivals – with the one possessing the greatest impact on the playoff picture being flexed into primetime on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” In Week 17 in 2010, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the St. Louis Rams, and in the final week of the regular season last year, the New York Giants eliminated the Dallas Cowboys; both of these teams would win subsequent playoff games televised on NBC (the Seahawks in the Wild Card round, and the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI).

The divisions represented by these teams have a great shot at making their second appearance on “SNF” in Week 17 under the new format.

First, let’s eliminate the divisions where the leaders are so far ahead, it should not make much of a difference what they do in Week 17: AFC East (New England Patriots); AFC South (Houston Texans); AFC West (Denver Broncos); and NFC South (New Orleans Saints).

True, a first-round playoff bye may be on the line between the Patriots, Texans and Broncos, but consider this: the Patriots are hosting the Miami Dolphins, and they’ve been so dominant at home in primetime, and in primetime in general this season (need we remind you what they did in New Jersey on Thanksgiving night?) that the chances of the game being out of reach early are high. Also, the Texans hosted the Indianapolis Colts today for what will be a home-and-home over a 15-day period, and had the Colts upset the Texans in Houston, the Week 17 rematch might have been a shoo-in for primetime, but the Texans win pretty much puts a cushion betweem the two teams; of course, if the Colts find themselves in a “win and you’re in” scenario, it’s still possible that Andrew Luck might bring the Colts back to “SNF” for the first time in the post-Peyton Manning era. And as for Manning’s current team, the Broncos, well, they’re playing the Kansas City Chiefs, who are not only execrable this season, but are 0-3 on NBC in the Fred Gaudelli era. Nuff said.

The NFC North also appears to be all but conquered by the Green Bay Packers, but the team they face in Week 17 is the Minnesota Vikings – a team that’s nipping at the Packers’ heels in the division, and has a running back in Adrian Peterson who’s on pace to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, and he needs just shy of 300 yards in two games to do it. But the Vikings’ next opponent, the Houston Texans, has a stingy run defense, so it’s too soon to determine what happens with the Packers/Vikings game until Peterson plays another sixty minutes. Remember, the league reconfigured the Week 17 Sunday night game to feature teams that are playing a game that will essentially name the winner of that division. Of course, when given the choice between watching a dynamic athlete break a record that has stood for nearly three decades, or a Rams/Seahawks game, I think the answer is easy. So based on the potential of history being made, with one of the biggest names in the game, I wouldn’t rule this one out yet, even if the Packers have long clinched the NFC North. Stay tuned.

So, we’re down to three divisions, and we’ll start with the AFC North. You have the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have made the fifth-most appearances on NBC since 2006 with fifteen, hosting the Cleveland Browns, and you have the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Baltimore Ravens, who have won six out of their nine appearances on NBC’s air. By the way, since 2006, Ohio has been 0-for-6 on NBC, including five Bengals games, two of them in the postseason. Realizing the Bengals’ dubious record on NBC, coupled with their penchant for having games blacked out due to low ticket sales, plus add to the mix the fact that they’re hosting the Ravens, who have abruptly switched offensive coordinators and have already lost their first game under their new one, the prospect of putting that game in primetime probably isn’t making the league and NBC suits’ mouths water. Nor is the possibility of a Steelers team playing the cellar-dwelling Browns. So in my view, you won’t be seeing the Steelers make their fourth “SNF” appearance of the season, nor a Ravens trifecta on NBC this year. But as always, I could be wrong.

Anyway, that leaves two divisions in the NFC where the top spot is up for grabs. First, the NFC West situation: the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks are fighting for first place. But keep in mind that the 49ers will be playing two Sunday night games in a row, including one that’s been flexed into primetime in Week 16 – and that game is in Seattle. Fast forward to Week 17, and you’ve got the Seahawks hosting the Rams, and the 49ers hosting the Cardinals. Given how bad the Cardinals have been since October (oh, they beat the Lions by four touchdowns after losing by nearly sixty points the previous week – big whoop), you can count out the latter matchup, and the possibility of a team appearing on “SNF” for three consecutive weeks. Which means that for the second time in three weeks, a Rams/Seahawks game in Seattle in Week 17 could be moved into primetime. The Rams, despite being a shade under .500, are amazingly undefeated (4-0-1) against opponents in the division. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are undefeated at home, and depending on how the 49ers fare in Centurylink Field on “SNF” in Week 16, the NFC West division may as well be decided in primetime that week.

And that leaves the NFC East, a division where three out of its four teams have made the most appearances on NBC since 2006 – most recently a matchup between two teams both under .500, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. In Week 17, both of these teams will be on the road: the Eagles at the New York Giants, and the Cowboys at the Washington Redskins. This division is literally a three-team race going down the stretch, but only one thing matters: the RG3 factor. Robert Griffin III is having an outstanding rookie campaign – yet he only has one primetime game to show for it (in Week 13 vs. the Giants on “Monday Night Football” on ESPN). Of course, there was the game on Thanksgiving Day that gave Griffin his first national exposure – in Jerry World, a game in which he led the Redskins to four touchdowns in the first half.

The Redskins, 2-0 in these games, currently share a lead in the NFC East. The Cowboys, well, they haven’t made the most appearances on “Sunday Night Football” for nothing (the Eagles/Cowboys tilt back in Week 13 was their twenty-first).

Regardless of the results of the Week 16 games between the Giants and the Ravens, the Cowboys and the Saints, and the Eagles and the Redskins, I am confident that the Cowboys/Redskins rematch in Week 17 will be flexed into primetime.

An equation of “America’s Team” and RG3 (provided he’s healthy) with the division on the line adds up to an enticing matchup.

So if you’re going to that game on December 30, I’d reschedule my plans for that evening if I were you.

UPDATE, 12.18.12: WIP Radio in Philadelphia reported today that the Cowboys/Redskins game on December 30 has been moved to a start time of… 4:25 PM. There’s nothing to back this up, I was just going by what I heard on the radio. Halfway to primetime. But it’s still a candidate to be moved to “Sunday Night Football”: based on how teams with their own playoff implications on the line perform in Week 16, the league will obviously move a game with “win or go home” potential into primetime. Or if the NFC East, NFC West and AFC North are suddenly all decided, and Adrian Peterson runs for over 150 yards against the Texans, the Vikings’ (regular?) season finale against the Packers could see itself being moved to NBC, as I speculated earlier – but of course, that’s a huge longshot as long as the NFC East, at the very least, has not been decided by Christmas.

So the Cowboys/Redskins game won’t be starting at 1 PM. That much, I was right about. And now the NFL is delaying the inevitable – which, by the way, will officially be announced on Monday.

UPDATE, 12.23.12, 11:39 PM ET: And now, it’s official: With the Redskins winning and the Cowboys and Giants losing, the rematch between the Redskins and the Cowboys in Week 17 will, as projected, be flexed into Sunday night on NBC. The news was announced during the Week 16 presentation of “Sunday Night Football.” This will be the first time since Week 7 in 2010 that the Redskins were featured on “Sunday Night Football.” Since that matchup with the Colts, there have been fifteen games on NBC (sixteen if you count the Super Bowl) in which there was at least one NFC East team – eight of them games between two NFC East teams. So it’s safe to say the Redskins are long overdue.

NBC Fires Norv Turner, Again: Chargers/Jets Flexed Out Of "Sunday Night Football"

NBC is flexing out the San Diego Chargers/New York Jets’ Week 16 game out of primetime in favor of a San Francisco 49ers/Seattle Seahawks matchup. It’s the third time in five seasons that a Sunday night game involving the Chargers was flexed out of primetime.

In just the second time in the last three years, NBC has waited until the latest possible time to exchange a previously scheduled game on “Sunday Night Football” for a more competitive one.

And in both of these instances, it’s the San Diego Chargers that end up getting burned.

They’re used to this, though.

On Monday, the NFL announced that the Chargers’ Week 16 road contest with the New York Jets on December 23 will be flexed out of primetime, with NBC opting for a divisional tilt between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. As a result, the Chargers/Jets game is jettisoned to CBS with a 1 PM (ET) start time, while a New York Giants/Baltimore Ravens game that had been scheduled for 1 PM on that day will shift to 4:25 PM, replacing 49ers/Seahawks as “America’s Game Of The Week” on that day.

With Fox protecting three consecutive Giants broadcasts this month, I’m sure Joe Buck wouldn’t want it any other way.

Sure, the Jets and Chargers both won their recent games, both on the road – but after realizing that an Arizona Cardinals defense that allowed nearly 60 points to the Seahawks had allowed just a single touchdown to the Jets the previous week – and mind you, not even to a quarterback named Sanchez or Tebow – NBC decided it would be in the best interest of America to not show the Chargers/Jets game in Week 16, a game that pits a lame-duck head coach with an all-around lame team.

There had been speculation that NBC would flex out the Chargers/Jets game as early as WFAN’s “Boomer and Carton” morning show. Co-host Craig Carton argued that with the Jets being embarrassed on Thanksgiving night by the New England Patriots, they don’t deserve any further national television exposure. (By the way, the Jets’ next game in Week 15 will be in primetime, on the road against the Tennessee Titans.)

And so, these two teams will, as The Big Lead points out, play a 1 PM game in New Jersey for the second consecutive year (the Jets won that Week 7 game, 27-21).

This will be the first and only time this year that a scheduled NBC game will be discarded back to a regional affair. Of course, there will be a final “Sunday Night Football” broadcast in Week 17, with the teams to be determined based on playoff implications stemming from the scheduled games that week, which will all be played on December 30.

The last time NBC waited as long as possible for flexing out a regularly scheduled game was in 2010, also in Week 16, with the Chargers/Bengals game fed back to CBS in favor of a Minnesota Vikings/Philadelphia Eagles game, one that would be played on the night of Tuesday, December 28, 2010, due to severe weather conditions in Philadelphia (incidentally, the Vikings’ own home stadium would be impacted by heavy snow that year, as well).

NBC also made one flex move last year in Week 13, and once again, it was an AFC/NFC tradeoff, with a Colts/Patriots contest (remember, this is the year Peyton Manning missed the entire season) switched for a Detroit Lions/New Orleans Saints matchup. As a reuslt of this arrangement, it actually sent a Denver Broncos road game in Minnesota from CBS to Fox (you may recall this was back in the thick of Tebowmania, when one Tim Tebow was playing for Denver).

With the Week 16 (2012) flex move, this means the 49ers will now have to play two back-to-back Sunday night games, and both of them on the road, as they travel to Foxboro to play the Patriots in Week 15 on NBC before proceeding to the Pacific Northwest the following week. This actually is not the first time a team was in such a position due to flex scheduling: In Week 16 of the 2007 season, the Washington Redskins’ road contest with the Vikings was flexed into primetime in lieu of a 49ers home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; the Redskins would also play the New York Giants in what used to be The Meadowlands the preceding week.

Speaking of the Patriots, the Chargers now join them as having been involved in the most games flexed out of primetime. A Chargers/Buccaneers game in Week 16 of the 2008 season also flexed out for a Carolina Panthers/New York Giants tilt – which put the Giants on “SNF” for two weeks in a row (they played in Dallas the previous week).

So there will be at least one previously scheduled primetime game on NBC flexed into an earlier window for the sixth year in a row, including only one game for four consecutive years. In the “SNF” debut season of 2006, in which flex scheduling was first eligible, no games were flexed at all.

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s nine games flexed out of Sunday night in a six-year span – with the Chargers making up for one-third of those games (as well as the Patriots).

Of course, there could have been two games flexed this season: they chose to keep a Philadelphia Eagles/Dallas Cowboys contest in primetime, despite their losing records coming into the game.

The San Diego Chargers and New York Jets, with their losing records? Not so much.

Regional Roundup: NFL Week 12 Thanksgiving Special

The last time NBC aired an NFL game on Thanksgiving, the Tennessee Oilers defeated the Dallas Cowboys in 1997. The NFL returns to NBC on Turkey Day, as the Jets host the division rival Patriots.

Here it is, a bit earlier than usual this week, and you can understand why: Three big games on the Thanksgiving menu, including, for the first time in sixteen years, on NBC. The usual regionals are upcoming, but given the holiday and the circumstances surrounding this setup, I’m including the Turkey Day games, as well as recognizing NBC, in this special edition only.

For the longest time, there had been only two annual NFL games on Thanksgiving Day: in Detroit in the early afternoon, and in Dallas in the late afternoon. Then when NFL Network started their “Thursday Night Football” package, which initially called for eight games per season (including a Saturday night game here and there), it included a Thanksgiving night game (which was also available on local broadcast stations in the markets involved with the game).

Then this year, on the weekend of the Super Bowl, the league announced that not only would NFLN’s annual tally of games expand from eight to thirteen, but in exchange for the extra games, the Thanksgiving night game would go to NBC.

So in 2012, a new tradition begins, with NBC worked into the Turkey Day NFL mix. The last time the Peacock Network aired a game on Thanksgiving Day, it was in the final year of their AFC contract. In fact, it’s been so long that the team that beat the Cowboys in that game in 1997, the Tennessee Oilers, now go by a new name (Titans). Ironically, the NFL franchise previously known as the Titans will be hosting the first Thanksgiving game on NBC in quite some time.

Here’s some Turkey Day NFL trivia for you: Did you know that, for two years out of the 52 seasons and counting that the NFL Thanksgiving doubleheader was established, the Cowboys did not host the late game? That’s right: there appeared to be a consensus that the team hosting a regular season game in the middle of the week gave them somewhat of an unfair advantage over other teams. The group with the biggest grievance was the St. Louis Cardinals – which at the time, were in the NFC East with the Cowboys. (They’ve since flown west to Phoenix in 1988, and eventually to the NFC West in 2002.) So the NFL awarded the St. Louis football Cardinals the late Thanksgiving game on odd years, starting in 1975. However, this plan ended in 1977 because CBS had their own grievance: there was not as much viewer interest in Cardinals Thanksgiving games than in Cowboys Thanksgiving games. What’s more, it would prove to be a chore to sell out the Thanksgiving games in St. Louis, as there was a high school football game in the area that was apparently of more interest. But there’s no record of the two Cards games not selling out, thus no record of local blackouts of the games in the St. Louis area.

So as far as I know, there has never been a local home team blackout for any Thanksgiving Classic games. Not even the Lions during their struggling years experienced a blackout on Thanksgiving Day – even the year that they compiled an 0-16 record. And even though word on the street was that the Jets had unsold tickets for their previous night game this season against the Texans – who will also be in action on Thursday for the first Thanksgiving game in the team’s eleven-year history – it’s a safe bet that the Jets’ second home game on Thanksgiving night in three years is sold out.

By the way, one more footnote on the Cardinals before we get started: Did you know that they’ve been involved in six Thanksgiving games since the AFL/NFL merger, and they’re 0-6 in those games? They were the St. Louis Cardinals for five of those games, and were involved in games for three consecutive years, including the two home games back in the mid-’70’s (yep, the Cowboys hosted the other). They also visited the Cowboys in 1983 and 1985, and lost each game by an identical score of 35-17. And in their most recent Turkey Day game in 2008, the Arizona Cardinals were eaten alive by the Philadelphia Eagles, 48-20. The Eagles, by the way, are undefeated (2-0) in Thanksgiving games played since the merger. At least the current Eagles team can take solace in that, when they host a Monday night matchup against the Carolina Panthers this week.

Here we go.


The Detroit Lions start the day’s festivities, just as they have been for every year since 1945. They host the AFC South-leading Houston Texans, and that means it’s a CBS game, and the network’s A-team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be at Ford Field for this game. It’ll be the third matchup between the two teams; each of their previous two tilts was won by the home team, most recently the Texans in 2008. So the Lions have that going for them against the high-powered Texans offense. The Dallas Cowboys follow with their 35th consecutive Thanksgiving Day game since the sacrifice of the Cardinals, and it’ll be against the division rival Washington Redskins, and Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will work that one. Here’s another weird stat for you: Since a pre-merger matchup in 1968, the Redskins are 0-6 against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day (though they did play the Lions back in 1972 and shut them out, 20-0). And the nightcap on NBC will be another divisional contest, as the New York Jets host the New England Patriots, who currently lead the AFC East. NBC’s crew of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya are assigned to this game. Since the merger, the Jets are 0-3 on Thanksgiving as the road team, but at home, they’re 1-0 – so far, anyway.

A foreword before the Sunday games: Of the three aforementioned announcing crews, we won’t hear from Nantz and Simms again until next week. Iron man Joe Buck and his sidekick Troy Aikman will return this Sunday on Fox (more on that later) and Al, Cris and Michele will also work NBC’s regularly scheduled Sunday night broadcast, which has the Green Bay Packers visiting the New York Giants. Fox has the Sunday doubleheader this week, by the way; not sure if that factors into Nantz/Simms getting a day of rest this Sunday or not.


CBS: But if Nantz and Simms were working a second game on this long holiday weekend, this probably would be the one: it involves the Denver Broncos, who travel to Kansas City to play the 1-9 Chiefs. On second thought, perhaps the carnage might be too much for Jim and Phil, so this sounds like a job for Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf. There are a couple of other divisional tilts in CBS’ early game window: the Jacksonville Jaguars, coming off a double overtime loss to the Texans, host the Tennessee Titans, with Spero Dedes and Steve Beuerlein interpreting the game action. And the Pittsburgh Steelers, sans Ben Roethlisberger, take on the Cleveland Browns, sans a reasonable offense; Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots will call this game from Cleveland. In fact, there will be two NFL games being played simultaneously in Ohio, as Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker will call the Cincinnati Bengals/Oakland Raiders contest. And the great Marv Albert once again teams up with Rich Gannon for what should be an exciting game in the rookie season of Andrew Luck – I say “should be an exciting game” but the Indianapolis Colts are hosting the Buffalo Bills this week.

FOX: A majority of the country will see Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa work an NFC North showdown between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears. And just like the Ohio deal, there will be three NFL games at the same time in the state of Florida: in addition to the aforementioned Jaguars game in Jacksonville, the Miami Dolphins host the Seattle Seahawks, in a game that will be called by Chris Myers and Tim Ryan. You may recall Myers’ snafu last week in which he declared a Panthers victory as a Tampa Bay Buccaneers decisive touchdown was scored in overtime. Which brings us to the other game in the Sunshine State, which is yet another divisional tilt. Yet, despite a heroic effort last week, I heard on Wednesday that there are still “thousands” of tickets available for the Bucs’ next home game against the Atlanta Falcons. The Bucs’ first and only sellout at Raymond James Stadium to date has been against another NFC South foe, the New Orleans Saints. If the team rises to second place in the division and they’re still not putting behinds in the seats, then Tampa Bay just doesn’t deserve an NFL team. It’s as simple as that. Despite the holiday, the sellout deadline remains as Thursday; I’ll update this post accordingly when time permits. By the way, Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick will call this game from Tampa. (UPDATE: It will actually be Charles Davis working with Brennaman.)


CBS: The lone late contest in CBS’ late game window, the San Diego Chargers’ hosting of the Baltimore Ravens, is also in danger of being blacked out locally. For those that will be able to watch this game, you’ll hear Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts describe the game action. (Surprisingly, I’ve heard nothing blackout-related as far as the Raiders/Bengals game is concerned.)

FOX: As I previously mentioned, Buck and Aikman will be back in the catbird seats on three days rest, in the Big Easy, as the resurgent New Orleans Saints play the San Francisco 49ers. Finally, you knew I was bringing up all of those details about the St. Louis football Cardinals for a reason. Of course, on Thanksgiving weekend, the NFL is going to schedule the Arizona Cardinals vs. the St. Louis Rams – or the team representing the city the Cardinals once resided, where they became etched in Thanksgiving Classic lore. This far-from-a-Thanksgiving-classic (will it end in a tie?) will be worked by Dick Stockton and John Lynch.

UPDATE: As of Friday, November 23, Cincinnati, San Diego and Tampa Bay will not be able to watch their local teams this weekend.

Information from the506.com was used in this post.