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.

LA Kings' Silence Is Deafening On KTLK-AM's Website

KTLK-AM in Los Angeles might be the radio home of the Kings, but visitors to the station's website will find virtually nothing related to the team - even their current Stanley Cup run. Could this lead to the team possibly being the "kings" of FM soon?

There is an old familiar adage: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Based on the many gaffes committed by Los Angeles media in covering the eighth-seeded Kings’ magical run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year – from using the logo of the NBA franchise in Sacramento, to an anchor maiming the names of two popular Kings players and then some – perhaps it would best be wise for KTLK-AM to act as if the Kings didn’t even qualify for the postseason.

However, KTLK-AM has been the flagship radio station of the Kings since 2006. And the sobering reality is, at least on their website, they are acting as if the Kings didn’t even qualify for the postseason.

A major stick tap (as the hockey bloggers refer to a “hat tip”) to SoCal Media Watch, who alerted us to this bitter irony on Wednesday, the first game of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, in which the Kings faced off against the New Jersey Devils. And with an overtime goal scored and assisted, respectively, by two of Liz Habib’s favorite Kings players, Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty, the Kings seized the home ice advantage from the Devils (who, for what it’s worth, are the sixth-seeded team in the Eastern Conference this season). Game 2 is scheduled for tonight in Jersey.

So, after a thrilling overtime win by the Kings, let’s see what the Kings’ flagship radio station is saying on their website about the local NHL franchise whose games they carry. Granted, there is a widget on the front page of their website, “Fox Sports LA News,” but you have to scroll all the way down to the bottom to see it. And even still, any Kings-related items would eventually be knocked off in favor of news related to the Dodgers, or as was the case on Friday afternoon, the NBA. So let’s see if there’s any love for the Kings on the meat and potatoes of the KTLK-AM website. “Romney Wins GOP Nomination,” reads one of the rotating headlines on the station’s featured news frame. KTLK runs a progressive talk format, so it’s not necessarily a shock to find political news items on the station’s website. “Win tickets to Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour.” She’s the syndicated morning radio host based at KTLK; you might remember her from that syndicated late-night talk show she hosted for five minutes. “Gitmo prisoners forced to listen to Sesame Street music.” Okay, well, based on the lack of sports items here, provided you’re not turned off by a typo in the headline of that last item, you’re going to look for Kings news on the KTLK website. And why not, they’ve been airing Kings games for seven years.

By going under the “news” menu and clicking “sports,” you’re taken to the “KTLK-AM Sports News” page. And they list the sports on the page alphabetically: auto racing, baseball, college football, college basketball, golf, NBA basketball, NFL football and tennis.

Did you notice something a bit amiss with that list? If you guessed that “college basketball” should come before “college football” on that alphabetized list, well, that’s valid, but there’s a bigger issue: nowhere on the list of sports on the “KTLK-AM Sports News” page is a section for hockey news. And the fact that KTLK-AM airs hockey play-by-play, while their website is void of hockey news on their own “Sports News” page is an anomaly.

But wait. There’s hope yet. Look under the “on air” menu, and you’ll find that the second item listed under “program schedule” is “sports schedule.” Surely, KTLK holds their sports broadcasting contracts in high regard if they’ve got the sports schedule prominently listed on the menu before the Stephanie Miller page, right?

Wrong. The most recent item on the “sports schedule” page is the schedule for the week of… April 9. Listings for three games from the first round series against the Canucks, plus a Galaxy (major league soccer) game. This tells you either one of two things: that KTLK had such little faith in the Kings, that they didn’t bother to update their sports schedule page, assuming that they would be eliminated by the end of the month of April; or the station hired a new webmaster and he hasn’t a clue how to update the sports schedule page. And right underneath that “recent” schedule is the one for the week of… March 26! That’s right, the schedule for the week of April 2 never saw the light of day! And even more embarrassing is the fact that the schedule for the week of March 26 was posted, according to the page, on March 27 – and yes, there was a Kings game scheduled for March 26. Oops.

Forget about the Kings for a minute. How would you feel if you were the LA Galaxy? They’ve played months of games that haven’t been listed on the station’s sports schedule, either. (Oh, and there’s not even a “soccer” category on their “sports news” page. Double whammy.)

“Inept” doesn’t even begin to describe this situation.

So after checking the two dedicated sports pages on the website, the last resort is to use the “search” function on the station’s website. A search for the word “Kings” gives you this message: “Page not found. The page you are requesting has been moved or is no longer available. You may use the menu below to help find the page you were looking for.” You are then served with a dozen links for “news,” “info” and “photos” – one of which is titled “sports gallery.”

Eh, why not. Maybe there’s a photo of Kopitar scoring the game-winning overtime goal from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Nope. Actually, let me rephrase that: Hell nope.

The first photo displayed on the station’s “sports highlights” gallery is of Mark Ingram winning the Heisman Trophy. In 2009.

Ensuing photos show random mistresses of Tiger Woods, in light of that nasty marital spat with his wife Elin – in 2009.

Keep clicking, and you’ll find a boatload of photos from the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies from the 2009 World Series. Both teams returned to their respective league championship series the following year; other than that, neither team has yet to even sniff the World Series since then, which kinda gives you an idea of just how dated these “sports highlights” are.

Or just how clueless the webmaster of KTLKAM1150.com is. Look, if you’re a talk radio station, and your hosts are going to be jabbering about Obama and Romney during this election year, of course, you’re going to have relevant content on your station’s website. But suppose your station has to cut away from the political talk for a few hours to carry sports, and honor a contract to carry a certain team’s games all year. If that team goes all the way to the championship round, wouldn’t you want to recognize that team prominently on your station’s website? Wouldn’t it be a better idea to throw up a shot of Anze Kopitar thwarting Martin Brodeur in overtime of the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals, rather than a file photo of the Muppets attached to the Gitmo torture story?

By comparison, the Devils’ current flagship station is New York’s WFAN. And predictably, the premier sports radio station in the country has a section on their website dedicated to the Eastern Conference champions. But even WABC, a talk station that was the previous New York radio home of the Devils, gives away tickets to Devils games on their website!

(And speaking of WABC – as in WABC-TV – how does this happen? Did they not get the memo that the Devils are in the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Islanders are once again watching them, just like they’ve been for the last thirty years?)

What’s interesting is that a sister station of KTLK-AM, alternative rock station KYSR “98.7 FM”, appears to be more enthusiastic about the Kings being in the Stanley Cup Finals than the Kings’ own flagship station. On 98.7’s website, you’ll find a link to their “Locker Room” page, which has a ton of Kings items, including an image of Kopitar’s game-winning goal from Game 1 – and yes, a chance to win tickets to the Kings’ home games for the Stanley Cup Finals. Not only that, 98.7 has vowed that, in lieu of commercial breaks, they will simulcast coverage of the Kings/Devils Stanley Cup Finals games from sister station KTLK-AM.

“Our listeners are so excited about the LA Kings’ success so far,” says KYSR PD Julie Pilat. “And we are in the business of giving our listeners what they want. They want to hear their favorite alternative music and stay close to what’s happening in the Stanley Cup Finals. They can do both now with 98.7 FM.”

Someone appoint Julie Pilat the program director of KTLK-AM, please.

Seriously, how bizarre is it that a rock station is going more gaga about the Los Angeles Kings than the station in SoCal that actually carries Kings games on the radio? You can argue that the demographics for the average alternative radio listener and the average hockey fan go hand-in-hand. But you’d be hard-pressed to find not only news about the Kings’ Stanley Cup Finals run on the KTLK website, you can’t even find the start times of the games on the KTLK website!

Which is what makes this KTLK-KYSR sporadic Stanley Cup simulcast arrangement very interesting. Could it be a possible audition for Kings games to be heard year-round on 98.7 FM? Last year, the Kings re-upped with KTLK to carry their games into the 2013-14 season. I would think they’d have to honor that first. But before it expires, you have to wonder if the Kings will express interest in their games being heard on FM, now that they’ve had a taste of it in their Stanley Cup run. And if the Kings emerge this year as the victors of Lord Stanley’s Cup, they might throw a little weight around sooner than that. If you’re followed the radio trades in recent years, if it isn’t news of an AM sports radio station migrating to FM, it’s a team moving its play-by-play from AM to FM. And a rock station doubling as the radio play-by-play home of an NHL franchise is not unorthodox: Pittsburgh’s “105.9 The X” has been airing Penguins games since 2006 – and that station, like KYSR and KTLK-AM, is owned by Clear Channel.

Win or lose, though, the Kings have every right to request KYSR be their new radio home in L.A.

It would certainly beat being treated like mere peasants on the website of their current radio flagship.

Rams, Redskins, RG3 and… Rush?

The Washington Redskins traded four draft picks to the St. Louis Rams, in the hopes of drafting Robert Griffin III. But what if talk show host and former ESPN commentator Rush Limbaugh had been a part-owner of the Rams, as he had aspired to be back in 2009? With the recent Sandra Fluke controversy, would any teams have even fathomed a deal with the Rams?

Over the weekend, the Washington Redskins have agreed to a trade with the St. Louis Rams, giving them this year’s second overall pick in the NFL Draft, in exchange for their sixth and 39th overall picks in this year’s draft, plus their first-round draft picks in the next two years. With the deal, the Redskins effectively opt-out of the “Peyton Manning sweepstakes”, as the franchise has their sights set on Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III – provided the Indianapolis Colts don’t call an audible and grab Griffin themselves with the first overall draft pick, which the team is likely using for Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who would effectively replace Manning after fourteen seasons with the Colts.

The Redskins’ trade with the Rams, on paper, appears to be a coup for both teams: St. Louis, who had already drafted a quarterback two years ago in Sam Bradford, sensed that with two quarterbacks – Luck and Griffin, possibly in that order – projected to be drafted with the first two picks, they felt it was best to trade their pick away to a team that would best benefit from the services of “RG3”, while the Rams used the draft picks they would receive from said team to continue the rebuilding process.

And in “RG3,” the Redskins seem to have found the franchise quarterback they have needed since Joe Theismann took over under center in 1978, just as the league’s regular season tally expanded from 14 games to 16.

But imagine for a moment that this blockbuster trade may have never come into fruition. That’s right: there might have been a possibility that the Redskins, or any of the other NFL teams, for that matter, may have wished not to do business with the Rams for their second-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. All because of one man who had expressed interest in part-ownership of the franchise some two-and-a-half years ago: conservative talk radio titan Rush Limbaugh.

Georgia Frontiere, previous owner of the Rams, died in early 2008 due to complications from breast cancer. It was under her watch that the franchise moved from Los Angeles to her hometown of St. Louis in 1995. Prior to the 2008 season, Limbaugh, a native of Cape Girardeau, MO, which is just over 100 miles from St. Louis, expressed his interest in owning the Rams. “My desire to get involved [with NFL ownership] has not been a secret,” Limbaugh said at the time, adding that he knows “a lot of friends” in that capacity. And despite the Rams being located not too far from where he was born and raised, Limbaugh pleaded that such a move would be strictly “a business decision.”

Limbaugh’s desire to join the ranks of NFL ownership intensified in October 2009, when he announced that he would be joining a group led by St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts, who previously had been the president and CEO of Madison Square Garden through most of the 1990’s, in a bid for ownership of the Rams. This was met with much criticism, as several negative comments about the NFL from Limbaugh were resurfaced and rehashed ad nauseum, most notably his comparison of the league to “a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons” in 2007.

Also revisited was his ill-fated stint as commentator of “Sunday NFL Countdown” on ESPN in 2003. On the September 28, 2003 edition, the “Countdown” crew had been discussing the Philadelphia Eagles, who at the time were 0-2 – outscored 48-10 in the first two games at their then-new stadium, Lincoln Financial Field – and just coming off of a bye week. In those previous two games, quarterback Donovan McNabb had thrown for zero touchdowns and three interceptions, and was sacked a whopping ten times for a combined loss of 66 yards. This led Limbaugh to say about McNabb: “I’m sorry to say this, I don’t think he’s been that good from the get-go… I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well… he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t really deserve. The defense carried the team.”

Co-commentator Tom Jackson was quick to point out that McNabb had led the Eagles to “those championship games” in the previous two seasons – they had been eliminated by the Buccaneers in 2003, and the previous year, incidentally, by the Rams, both of which had advanced to and won Super Bowls in those years. “He has been a very effective quarterback for this football team over the last two or three years,” Jackson said of McNabb, “and they didn’t have any more talent then than they do now.” Limbaugh replied: “Oh, yes, they did: on defense… I think he got a lot of credit for the defensive side of the ball winning games for this team.”

Limbaugh also assured Jackson that McNabb was “a good investment” by the Eagles, but “I just don’t think he’s as good as everybody says he has been.” Fellow commentators Steve Young and Michael Irvin were not as dismissive on Limbaugh’s view as Jackson had been. “Don’t misunderstand,” said Limbaugh.

Whether or not the quarterback had “misunderstood” Limbaugh’s comments, McNabb spoke out about them in a newspaper interview: “It’s sad that you’ve got to go to skin color. I thought we were through with that whole deal.” This led to several athletes and noted Democratic figures, including civil rights activist Al Sharpton, dismissing Limbaugh’s comments about McNabb on ESPN, and an outfit known as the National Association of Black Journalists questioning “ESPN’s credibility as a journalism entity.” This led to ESPN issuing a statement on the night of Wednesday, October 1, 2003, announcing that they had informed Limbaugh that his comments about McNabb “were insensitive and inappropriate.”

Shortly after, Limbaugh would part ways with the Worldwide Leader, resigning his post on “Sunday NFL Countdown.”

Keep in mind that the next day, October 2, 2003, he would deliver the keynote speech at the annual National Assocation of Broadcasters convention – which just happened to be based in Philadelphia that year.

Fast forward six years, and ten days, later. In the wake of Limbaugh’s inclination to be part of a group making a bid for ownership of the St. Louis Rams, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, who is African-American, voiced his opposition of Limbaugh’s involvement with NFL ownership, saying his history of controversial comments that have been made, not only about McNabb on ESPN, but on his nationally syndicated radio show with roughly 600 affiliates – Rush has made no secret that he is not a fan of current U.S. President, Barack Obama – would mar the spirit of the NFL, which “overcomes division and rejects discrimination and hatred.”

Much like in 2003 after Limbaugh’s viewpoint on Donovan McNabb, several athletes did not take kindly to Limbaugh’s potential part-ownership of an NFL franchise. “Our players… know that there is an ugly part of history and we will not risk going backwards, giving up, giving in or lying down to it,” said Smith in 2009. “I am proud when they stand up, understand that this is their profession, and speak with candor and blunt honesty about how they feel.” The next day, the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, went on the record as saying Limbaugh’s comments, particularly about McNabb in 2003, were “divisive” and “polarizing,” and “would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL… Absolutely not.”

Make no mistake, Rush Limbaugh is a polarizing figure in the African-American community. It would be hard to fathom his involvement in the ownership of a team located in a city which, in 2010, roughly half of its population (49.2%) was African-American.

Shortly after Goodell voiced his displeasure in Limbaugh’s potential link to Rams ownership, Checketts had no choice but to shed Limbaugh from his ownership group. “It has become clear that his involvement in our group has become a complication and a distraction to our intentions,” Checketts said in a statement, adding that Limbaugh would have only been “a limited partner” who “would have had no say in the direction of the club or in any decisions regarding personnel or operations.” Checketts was optimistic that his group’s disassociation from Limbaugh would “eventually lead… to a successful conclusion” – that being, claiming ownership of the Rams franchise.

What appeared to be a strong desire by Checketts & Co. in the beginning of 2010 had fell by the wayside as the winter went on, and ownership of the team ultimately went to billionaire Stan Kroenke just prior to the start of the 2010-11 NFL season.

It’s clear that without Rush Limbaugh, the NFL is all the better for it.

But given the events of the last few weeks, I can’t help but wonder if: What if Rush Limbaugh was currently a part-owner of the St. Louis Rams? What if Rush Limbaugh had never been an employee of ESPN? What if Rush Limbaugh – as impossible as it may be to imagine – had never uttered a “divisive” thing about anyone or anything over the last 25 years?

It was on New Year’s Day 2012 that it was first reported on, ironically enough, ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” program, that junior quarterback Robert Griffin III of Baylor, just three weeks after winning the Heisman Trophy, was going to declare eligibility for the NFL Draft.

On February 24th, the Rams let it be known that they are willing to part with the second overall draft pick – for the right price. St. Louis, of course, is set at quarterback with Sam Bradford, so it’s not much of a necessity for them to draft Griffin.

The day before, on February 23rd, Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke had given testimony at a panel on Capitol Hill titled, “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” Fluke had spoken in favor of contraception being covered by health insurance plans offered by employers, including regilious institutions.

On February 29th, on his radio show, Limbaugh spoke out against Fluke’s support for a federal contraception mandate. “What does it say about the college coed… who goes before a Congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex?,” he asked his listeners. “What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.” Limbaugh further continued skewering Fluke for the remainder of the week, culminating with his March 1 show, in which he voiced a request for Fluke, in exchange for her plea for taxpayers footing the bill for contraceptives, “to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

The verbal attacks on Fluke were so brutal that she received a call from President Obama on Friday, March 2. Amid mounting criticism, Limbaugh posted an apology on his website the next day – but by then, the damage would just start to be done, as seven sponsors announced that they would pull their advertising from Limbaugh’s radio show over the weekend. Since then, the list continues to grow. Two radio stations in the “blue state” of Massachusetts and the island of Hawaii even canceled Limbaugh’s show. And just recently, a trio of women’s rights activists led by Gloria Steinem urged people to file complaints with the Federal Communications Commission so that they may revoke the licenses of hundreds of radio stations that air Limbaugh’s “toxic hate speech.”

In the span of ten days, Rush Limbaugh had been under much scrutiny for his comments about Sandra Fluke, and rightly so.

Now, take that all in, and imagine if, amidst all of this controversy, he was a part-owner of the St. Louis Rams.

A St. Louis Rams team that would be openly willing to wheel and deal the second overall draft pick to other NFL teams.

There’s a good chance that the Rams would have been left at the altar.

Regardless of how talented and highly touted Robert Griffin III may be, Rush Limbaugh’s mere existence on the Rams ownership board would have been front office kryptonite, with Limbaugh’s comments about Fluke tainting such a deal before it would even be proposed.

“Well, I’m terribly sorry about Mr. Limbaugh’s comments regarding Ms. Fluke, but… RG3! Come on!”

There would have been no takers. Not even the NFL team representing Washington – where Georgetown University is located – and President Barack Obama currently resides.

It could have been the second case of Rush Limbaugh being in the wrong place at the wrong time since 2003, after he quit his gig at ESPN over controversial comments about the quarterback of Philadelphia’s NFL team – right before he was to give a speech at a broadcasting convention in Philadelphia.

Things could have been far worse: Could you picture a part-Limbaugh-owned Rams team making the draft pick megadeal with the Redskins, and then going on the radio to defame Sandra Fluke as a “prostitute” and a “slut”? The Rams, the Redskins, the entire NFL starting with Roger Goodell – they would have to spend the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft trying to remove all of the egg from their faces. Those comments clearly would have been a distraction as all 32 teams prepare for the draft, with the conversation of “Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin?” being relegated to a sideshow.

A distraction similar to the one that sprung up when Limbaugh first expressed interest in ownership of the francise.

There’s no way that anybody with a pulse can condone Rush Limbaugh’s many “divisive comments” over the years.

In the case of Rush Limbaugh, the aspiring part-owner of an NFL team, however, it’s somewhat bittersweet that he has made such comments, only in that the NFL has swiftly denied access to him joining the league’s franchise owners, because of those comments.

Such unnecessary roughness on Sandra Fluke may have resulted from him being banned from the league.

One more serving of food for thought: Would Rush Limbaugh have made those comments about Sandra Fluke, comments that the average woman took offense to, if he had been part-owner of the St. Louis Rams, continuing a legacy of franchise ownership previously upheld by… a woman?

If Georgia Frontiere heard some of the things Rush Limbaugh has said, whether he owned the Rams or not, she might roll over in her grave.

Hump Start: NFL Moves 2012-13 Season Kickoff Game To Wednesday Night

Once again, the New York Giants find themselves in an interesting position: beginning their defense of their NFL championship a little earlier due to a conflict with an election convention. This year, the Giants will kick off the season on a Wednesday night, playing the first Wednesday NFL game since 1948.

Are you ready for some football? On a Wednesday?

As President Obama would say, yes, we can.

For the first time in 64 years, a regular season NFL game will be played on a Wednesday night – and it’ll be the very next NFL game, which opens the 2012-13 season.

And for the second time in five years, it’ll be at the expense of the World Champion New York Giants.

Here’s the deal: The game, which will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, home of the Giants, was originally scheduled, as has been the case for the past dozen years, on the first Thursday of September following Labor Day.

This year, that would be September 6. Incidentally, 2012 is an election year, and each election year, the Republican and Democratic National Committees have been hosting four-day conventions during the final week of August and first week of September, alternating each year. The final day of the convention – Thursday – is the crescendo which closes with a speech from the main candidate (or sitting President).

There was no conflict in 2004 because the Democratic convention was held in July of that year. However, in 2008, so as not to step on Republican nominee John McCain’s address, the NFL moved up the time of the season opener – also involving the Giants, who had won Super Bowl XLII – from an 8:30 PM (ET) start time to about a 7 PM kickoff. The ratings were decent, but apparently not decent enough to the point that the Giants will be playing another early Thursday night season opener.

So on Tuesday, the NFL decided to simply move the game to the previous night, Wednesday, September 5. It will be the first time since the fall of 1948 that a regular season NFL game would be played on a Wednesday. On that day, September 22, 1948, to be precise, the Detroit Lions lost to the Los Angeles Rams, en route to a 2-10 season; the Rams finished 6-5-1. (In case you’re wondering, the Philadelphia Eagles won the championship that year.)

This will be the second time in three years that a regular season NFL game will be played on an unorthodox day of the week. In late December 2010, a Sunday afternoon game involving the aforementioned Eagles was moved to Tuesday night due to extreme blizzard conditions in Philadelphia. The visiting Vikings – playing out the string a la the Asheville Tourists after a blizzard back home impounded the Metrodome – won the game behind the unlikely arm of Joe Webb.

The Giants’ first opponents of the 2012-13 season is still to be determined. In 2008, the Giants beat the Washington Redskins in the season opener. With politics once again coming into play in the Giants’ defense of their Lombardi trophy, don’t be surprised if the Giants once again square off against Washington on September 5; the start time will remain 8:30 PM ET. (The two teams have actually faced each other on the season opener for the last two years.)

And in case you’re wondering: no, the Giants don’t play the Chicago Bears this season, so that was not a factor in moving up the season opener to Wednesday to accommodate big-time Bears fan President Obama the following night.