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.

A Canonical List Of Everything ESPN Has Ever Apologized For

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you ready for some apologies from ESPN? Included in our list is Hank Williams Jr., best known for performing the theme song on “Monday Night Football,” singing a different tune on Fox News Channel hours before an “MNF” game.

The Alabama Crimson Tide won the 2013 BCS National Championship Game on Monday night.

But it was the beau of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron that stole the show – and with that, Brent Musburger’s heart.

And for this, ESPN saw fit to issue an apology for their lead college football announcer’s singing the praises not only of McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb, but his mother, Dee Dee Bonner.

Many are saying it’s uncalled for – the apology, that is.

Whether or not it’s warranted, it’s the latest in a very long string of “sorry’s” at the Worldwide Leader. So with that, I present a rolling list of apologies issued by either ESPN or ESPN employees, going back as far as the Internet can go. (I’m sure I missed a few, so if I omitted any, post a comment below and I’ll add it on.)

We’ll start off with an on-air comment that happened almost eight years ago – something that was the pure antithesis of Brent Musburger sweating Katherine Webb during the national championship game – involving Rick Majerus, who passed away just last month.

January 25, 2005: At one point during a college basketball broadcast, in which Kentucky routed Tennessee, color analyst Majerus said that he requested the presence of Kentucky alumnus (and possible Senator of Kentucky) Ashley Judd at the game. Why? “So I won’t have to watch adult videos back at the hotel.” The network apologized for the comment a few days later.

November 14, 2005: ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd is incensed at how much press the death of wrestler Eddie Guerrero got. “Who cares that he died? It’s not newsworthy.” (Guerrero was found dead in a hotel room prior to a match; he was 38 years old.)

April 13, 2007: Cowherd urging listeners to basically pull a denial of service attack on Jason McIntyre’s The Big Lead website.

December 11, 2007: Using what they called “very poor judgment” in constructing a poll asking website visitors which of three possibilities they would rather see in sports in the upcoming weekend – with one of the options being, “Kevin Garnett blow out his knee.”

January 11, 2008: Dana Jacobson’s drunken rant at a roast for Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic; she apologized on the air following her suspension.

March 9, 2008: Dan Shulman (pre-“Sunday Night Baseball”) issuing a mea culpa for cutting to “Speedo Guy” during a Duke/North Carolina game.

June 17, 2008: Jemele Hill penned a column in which she likened rooting for the Boston Celtics, who beat the Los Angeles Lakers 4-2 that year in the NBA Finals, to “saying Hitler was a victim.”

September 15, 2008: In one of his three seasons in the booth for “Monday Night Football” – which moved to ESPN from ABC in 2006 – Tony Kornheiser’s recalling of high school Spanish was very fuzzy as, upon hearing Spanish-language audio of a Cowboys touchdown, he interpreted that as “either ‘nobody is going to touch him’, or ‘could you pick up my dry cleaning in the morning?’ (Is it a mere coincidence that this would be his final season in the “MNF” booth?) The next day, he apologized, admitting that while it was “not my first mistake,” it “undoubtedly won’t be my last.”

October 18, 2008: Apparently, Lou Holtz was a big fan of Jemele Hill’s works.

February 2, 2009: A promo featuring NBA play-by-player Mike Breen and Shaquille O’Neal (who joined TNT in 2011), in which Shaq disparaged “fist kissing” to the point that gay groups took offense to it; the promo was later dropped.

August 20, 2009: We say hello to Ms. Hill once again. This time, the offensive thing wasn’t written; it was said on “First Take”: she wanted Green Bay Packers fans to give Brett Favre, by this time donning the uniform of the division rival Minnesota Vikings, “the Duracell treatment when he comes to Lambeau Field.”

February 19, 2010: Kornheiser (way to keep a promise on screwing up again, Mr. Tony) had made up with Hannah Storm for choice words about her attire, comments for which he was suspended – comments he made on his radio show on the Washington, D.C. ESPN radio affiliate.

January 4, 2011: The aforementioned Storm and NFL insider Adam Schefter high-fiving and laughing while reporting on “Black Monday” that the Cleveland Browns have fired head coach Eric Mangini.

That same day, the network cut loose radio play-by-play announcer Ron Franklin, who had previously apologized to reporter Jeannine Edwards for referring to her as “sweet baby” during a staff meeting.

April 20, 2011: Former college basketball coach and current ESPN college basketball analyst Bob Knight singled out Kentucky’s program while making an argument that players that declare eligibility for the NBA draft after only a freshman season is “not healthy for college basketball.”

September 13, 2011: Ron Jaworski dropping an “S-bomb” while breaking down a play on “Monday Night Football.” (We don’t know if it’s a factor, but that was Jaws’ last season in the “MNF” booth.)

October 4, 2011: Hank Williams Jr. picking a Monday morning to compare President Obama to Adolf Hitler. After over twenty years of opening a reworked version of “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” for “Monday Night Football” on ESPN (and ABC before it), Hank Jr. would croon his tune no more.

November 19, 2011: On “College GameDay,” Lee Corso… ah, fuck it.

December 6, 2011: Trying to pull a fast one on Jaguars fans during a “Monday Night Football” broadcast, displaying outdated footage of the city of Jacksonville, and even Charlotte (note: the Panthers did not even play on “MNF” in 2011).

February 18, 2012: The inadvertent use of the idiom “Chink In The Armor” as a headline to a story about then-Knick Jeremy Lin, losing his first game as a starter for New York. (The person responsible for use of the term, Anthony Federico, was later fired.)

May 25, 2012: Ranking Philadelphia 76ers forward/center Lavoy Allen number 500 in a list of the best players in the NBA – no, it’s true. (And is it really something to apologize for if Allen is taking the ball and running with it? Check out his Twitter handle.)

May 30, 2012: Perhaps one that ranks right up there with the Musburger/Webb kerfuffel (or the Lavoy Allen thing above): “During its SportsCenter broadcast… Stan Verrett, apologized on behalf of his peers in the national media for failing to recognize until recently just how good the Spurs are and how special their 20-game winning streak is.”

July 25, 2012: Reporting a story involving then-Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard on “SportsCenter” – one that was lifted from another website and read virtually verbatim.

November 12, 2012: A chyron on the rundown bar of “Monday Night Countdown” teasing a segment revolving around Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, “Dink And Dunk,” had actually read “Drink And Drunk.” (Big Ben has been known for exploits at bars; he had also flirted with legal trouble, but has never been arrested.)

November 24, 2012: Perhaps just as trivial as the Musburger/Webb thing, depending on what part of the country you’re from or in: Canadian-born Jesse Palmer making the “hook ’em horns” hand signal – with the horns pointed downward.

December 19, 2012: Nearly a week after he wondered on “First Take” if Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was “a cornball brother,” Rob Parker issued an apology. (In case you missed it, the network is not renewing his contract.)

Just this Monday, hours before Musburger’s Webb gem: A soccer analyst depicting a player who worked his hand into a scoring drive as “a cheat.”

Honorable mention: We go all the way back to April 8, 1994, when the network apologized for then-ESPN2 host Jim Rome taunting then-New Orleans Saints quarterback Jim Everett to the point that Everett knocked Rome to the floor.

As for Everett? “I don’t regret what I did.”

And for all those who wish to relive that magic moment, here’s what Chris, er, Jim Everett did to Jim Rome, again.

(Even the people in the control room were taunting Everett through chyrons!)

Hub Arkush: Chuck Pagano Return To Colts After Beating Cancer Is "Selfish," Will Be "A Distraction" For Team

Pro Football Weekly’s Hub Arkush thinks it’s pointless for Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano to return to the sidelines for the team’s playoff run after beating leukemia. “I think it’s got to be a distraction.”

It was absolutely sobering to hear news after the Indianapolis Colts’ bye week that their new head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia.

Since offensive coordinator Bruce Arians took over on an interim basis, all the Colts have done, to paraphrase Skip Bayless, is win. And all the while, the team has not forgotten about Pagano, as personnel from players to cheerleaders showed support by shaving their heads in his honor.

As if it were some sort of Christmas miracle, Pagano has been cleared to resume head coaching duties. And on the eve of his return to the sidelines, he even sent an inspiring email to folks on LiveStrong’s email list. Pagano, of course, was the subject of an offshoot of the cancer campaign organized by the Colts, called “ChuckStrong.”

“After I was diagnosed with leukemia, my whole team rallied around me in ways I never expected,” Pagano wrote. “That’s the definition of teamwork.”

But for football publisher Hub Arkush, Pagano’s return to the Colts in the final week of the regular season is the definition of “selfish” at best.

“I know that this may be controversial, and I don’t wanna be Scrooge here, but why he is coming back is an absolute mystery to me,” Arkush told Sports Radio 610 in Houston this week. “It seems a little bit selfish. I understand I’ve never been in his position, but… I think it’s got to be a distraction, and I think Bruce Arians has done an outstanding job. They should not be screwing around with that.”

Arkush was asked by Brad Davies and Mike Meltser if he thought it was a good idea for the Colts to rest their starters, now that the team is locked into the No. 5 seed in the playoffs. But before eventually answering that question, he addressed his concern for the person who hasn’t been in action for a dozen weeks.

“If I’m Chuck Pagano, I rest myself.”

The publisher of Pro Football Weekly also took a similar stance this week on the nationally syndicated radio show that bears the publication’s name, which he co-hosts with Green Bay Packers radio announcer Wayne Larrivee.

“I don’t really understand why Chuck Pagano is coming back,” Arkush commented, adding that the coach’s cancer battle has been “a great story” and that “it’s obvious he had a huge impact” on the team’s amazing run, especially with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck under center. Arkush also believes that Arians should be a shoo-in for the NFL Coach of the Year for his work in keeping the Colts in playoff contention, winning nine of twelve games.

Pro Football Weekly is actually a pretty good publication. Not only do they have a corresponding radio show, they also have a weekly television program that runs on many regional sports networks during the football season – and many might have heard of it for the first time only after Dan Hampton predicted that the Minnesota Vikings would “hit” the New Orleans Saints “like Katrina” in the opening week of the 2010 regular season.

Having said that, this sounds like a point that Hampton, and not Arkush, might make.

While Arians deserves credit for coaching a team that has been .750 under his watch, and Luck also should get some consideration for playing out of his mind in a sensational rookie campaign (second only, perhaps, to Robert Griffin III), you can’t help but argue that the spirit of Pagano kept a fire burning like the light that remained on in his office as he underwent treatment.

So even though he’ll be back with the team physically in what will likely be the team’s final game in Indianapolis this season, no matter how far the Colts advance in the playoffs, it’s hard to say if Chuck Pagano’s return will be a head coaching version of Ronnie Lott or Kirk Gibson or Curt Schilling or Willis Reed.

But to suggest that “ChuckStrong” returning to the team at this phase is “selfish” is downright weak.

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.

Rush Limbaugh: "I Mistakenly Liked The People" At ESPN's NFL Pregame Show

While discussing Rob Parker’s comments on ESPN about Robert Griffin III, Rush Limbaugh admitted that during his own stint at the network, he “mistakenly liked” his “Sunday NFL Countdown” colleagues. “It was misplaced affection.”

It appears everybody related to sports media has a reaction to Rob Parker’s infamous “cornball brother” inquisition of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III on ESPN2’s “First Take” – even those no longer affiliated with sports media.

Like Rush Limbaugh.

You may recall his brief stint as an analyst on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” in 2003, which came to an abrupt end after his stance that “the media is very desirous that a black quarterback do well.” Those remarks were made regarding former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Once ESPN denounced those comments, Limbaugh resigned from the program.

Of course, Limbaugh has been hosting the top talk radio program for 25 years. So even though he’s nine years removed from his short tenure at ESPN, he still feels the need to use his radio show as a forum to chime in on sports media controversies, especially those that involve his former employer.

Limbaugh dubbed Parker “a buffoon” and “a full-fledged separatist,” but that wasn’t all. While recalling what would be his final appearance at the Worldwide Leader, he seized the opportunity to throw his former “Sunday NFL Countdown” comrades – Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, Steve Young and Michael Irvin – under the bus.

“I really liked that pregame show,” Limbaugh told his listeners. “I mistakenly liked the people on it. It was misplaced affection.”

Gee, Rush. Was it misplaced affection when Dave Checketts and his pals purged you from the group making a bid to purchase the St. Louis Rams?

Anyway, you can watch Rush lob a verbal grenade at his ex-ESPN colleagues at the 3:00 mark. And as a bonus, later in this clip, he shares his thoughts on Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin, the Washington-based sports radio hosts that were suspended for mocking a transgender basketball player. Coupled with Parker’s attack on RGIII, Limbaugh reaches the conclusion that “ESPN has become a racist place.”

Redskins Flagship Hosts Suspended For Anti-Transgender Comments

Two sports radio hosts have been suspended for comments made about transgender basketball player Gabrielle Ludwig. The radio station, WTEM/”ESPN 980″, is owned by Daniel Snyder, who also owns the Washington Redskins.

The afternoon drive duo in Washington, D.C. known as “The Sports Reporters” are silent this week in the wake of a firestorm brewing from remarks that the hosts made on their program the previous week.

On the December 6 edition of the show, hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin had made jarring comments mocking Gabrielle Ludwig, a 50-year-old women’s basketball player who is also a transgender; she had also played college basketball earlier in her life as Robert Ludwig.

The audio excerpt, posted by the gay-oriented sports website Outsports, presents Czaban and Pollin making jokes such as the Austin Powers line, “it’s a man, baby”, and using the pronouns “he/she” and “it” to describe Ludwig.

On Tuesday, the radio station that employs the men, WTEM, known on-air as “ESPN 980,” had suspended them for their remarks, which WTEM parent company Red Zebra Broadcasting believes “crossed the line… Such intolerance and insensitivity will never be tolerated by this company.”

The suspension is reported to be for just two days (Tuesday, December 11 and Wednesday, December 12).

In addition, ESPN added their own response, stressing that while the remarks of Czaban, who in the past was a popular personality on Fox Sports Radio, and Pollin are “completely against ESPN’s company culture and values… the two are not employees of ESPN and made the comments on an affiliated radio station that controls its own local content.”

As previously mentioned, “ESPN 980” is run by Red Zebra Broadcasting, which is owned by Daniel Snyder – who also owns a team you might have heard of called the Washington Redskins. WTEM, as well as a handful of suburban FM stations, serve as the Redskins’ flagship network.

Some may view this incident as a bit more serious than an episode from 2004, when Don and Mike, the afternoon drive show on the Redskins’ old flagship, WJFK-FM, uttered the word “bulls***” on the air twice. (WJFK is currently an all-sports station and thus a rival of WTEM.)

If you ask me, even more offensive than what Czaban and Pollin said about Ludwig is that they’re only going to be sidelined for two days, according to the station that gives them three hours a day to voice their opinions on sports.

Earlier this year, Scott Kaplan lost his morning radio gig at “XX 1090” in San Diego after going on a diatribe about a female personality on a regional sports network, the since-folded “The Mtn.”, being a “sasquatch of a woman” and less appealing than “Holly Rowe’s giant butt.” Kaplan has since started hosting a show for a video channel powered by a local newspaper.

Meanwhile, that joker Bruce Jacobs is still on the air in Albany after his nonsensical rant about the WNBA.

As for Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin, well, here’s the website for their show. Let me ask, when was the last time they updated this thing? The first picture you’re greeted with is one of Brooke Hundley, the ESPN producer made famous for her tryst with former ESPN analyst Steve Phillips – some four or five years ago. There’s also a photo of a supermodel with a reference to Terrell Owens, who is no longer active in the NFL. And when you finally get to a video commemorating the “30th anniversary of the Miracle at the Meadowlands,” that tells you that, yes, they have not updated their website since 2008 – or four years.

Yet they’ve managed to set back society forty years with their choice words about a transgender athlete.

Regional Roundup: NFL Week 9

You would think that a matchup pitting two young quarterbacks in Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III against each other would have major interest across the country, but nearly three dozen markets have chosen to show a different game than Panthers/Redskins this weekend.

Another Giant stage, after a giant natural disaster. It’s the midway point of the 2012 NFL season, on a weekend in which CBS, despite having one less game than Fox to work with, has the doubleheader. No blackouts this week, though there were a couple that came close to it that you’ll find out about as you continue reading. And as I mentioned in an earlier post today, last night’s Chargers/Chiefs game in San Diego would have been the first-ever game to be blacked out locally in the seven-year history of “Thursday Night Football” on NFL Network… though I believe future “TNF” games this season will be in Jacksonville and Buffalo, so there’s hope.

EARLY GAMES

CBS: The first of the aforementioned near-blackouts is in Cincinnati, where the Bengals failed to sell out six of their eight home games last season. But you can count on the arm of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to sell some tickets. This game will be worked by Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, and be shown in roughly three quarters of the country – or the percentage of home games the Bengals failed to sell out last year. The remaining three games on CBS’ early game window menu are contests that will be seen virtually only in states, or areas of states, in which there is team interest: all of Texas and most of New York State (but not New York City) will watch Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts call the Bills and the Houston Texans; all of Indiana and some of Illinois and Kentucky, and all of Florida (except Jacksonville) will see Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots work the Miami Dolphins and the Indianapolis Colts game; and the great Marv Albert is back alongside Rich Gannon for a divisional matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns, which will be seen in most of Ohio, and the entire mid-atlantic region from Harrisburg to Norfolk.

FOX: Joe Buck probably wishes the World Series was still going on this weekend – that way, he wouldn’t have to work the Arizona Cardinals/Green Bay Packers game with Troy Aikman. I’m sure there’s one game he’d rather call, but alas, it’s on CBS this week. But at least he’ll have a wider audience than that of the Carolina Panthers/Washington Redskins game that will be called by Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa: according to the506.com, many markets from Atlanta to Alexandria, from Pittsburgh to Panama City, and all of New England, have exercised their right to vote on this weekend prior to Election Day (and if you’re reading this, do not forget to do the same this Tuesday) and have elected to air the Cardinals/Packers game in lieu of Panthers/Redskins. Even Wichita has opted not to show Cam Newton vs. RGIII, instead choosing the Chicago Bears/Tennessee Titans tilt from Nashville, where Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick will interpret the game action to viewers. And in a game that will be shown only in the Panhandle area and virtually all of Michigan, Ron Pitts will be calling the Detroit Lions/Jacksonville Jaguars game alongside Mike Martz, who coached the Lions for two seasons.

LATE GAMES

CBS: Once again, the New York Giants have the late game window all to themselves on the network. Last week, Fox featured the Giants/Cowboys game from Dallas in the late afternoon, and this week, Big Blue will be playing another game with a 4:25 PM start – and that’s good news for their next opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, who will actually be flying into New Jersey on game day, as the hotel that the team originally booked with had experienced power failure, as a result of Hurricane Sandy. And while the storm was enough to postpone the Brooklyn opener of Nets basketball and most recently, the New York City Marathon, the Steelers/Giants game appears to be a go, despite many areas of New Jersey still sidelined by power outages. The Giants have won four straight games on CBS. Oh yeah, in case you haven’t already figured it out by now, Jim Nantz and former Giants quarterback Phil Simms will be handling this game.

FOX: The other game that just had a blackout lifted for this weekend is the Oakland Raiders’ home game against a team that knows a thing or two about having home games blacked out, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dick Stockton, along with former Bucs defensive back John Lynch, will work this game. The last time the Buccaneers played in the Bay Area, they were bludgeoned by the 49ers by 45 points. The last time the Buccaneers played a game was last Thursday night, in their road victory over the Minnesota Vikings, so it’s fair to say that both the Bucs and Vikings have had maximum rest time allowed without the assist of a bye week. This week, the Vikings travel to Seattle, where the Seahawks are 3-0 at home so far this season; incidentally, the Vikings were 4-0 at home until their last game. Chris Myers and Tim Ryan will be making themselves at home in Qwest Field for this one.

Information from the506.com was used in this post.