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Colts, Saints games will stay on NFLN only

Two years ago, the NFL had a problem.  The 15-0 Patriots were visiting the Giants on a Saturday night game scheduled to be televised exclusively on NFL Network.

After pressure was applied, political and otherwise, the NFL gave the American public a belated Christmas gift, exporting the game to NBC and CBS.

This year, the 13-0 Saints host the 8-5 Cowboys on Saturday night.  It’s arguably one of the biggest regular-season games of the year, and it comes only two nights after NFLN features the 13-0 Colts, who have essentially declared their regular season over and will now embark on a three-game playoff preseason.

So will either or both games involving unbeaten teams be shifted to one or more broadcast networks?

“There is no historical significance to the game as there was in 2007 when the Patriots were trying to become the first team to complete a 16-game regular season unbeaten,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said via e-mail Monday morning.  “Plus, both unbeaten teams this week will be available to a bigger percentage of the country than their games yesterday.  Most Saints and Colts games this year (the non prime-time games) have been available to a regional audience.”

Though the Week 15 games involving Indianapolis and New Orleans will indeed be available to a larger slice of the nation — 48 percent of it, via NFLN and over-the-air availability in the local markets of the teams that are playing (but not Jacksonville if the Colts-Jags game doesn’t sell out) – regional games that begin at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sundays are by definition limited-access broadcasts, especially when 10 of them are being played at the same time. 

Evening games are intended to be available nationally.  As the Saints and Colts try (for the Colts, we probably should put quotation marks around that word) to improve their records to 14-0, the game will be available only in those parts of the nation serviced by cable companies that carry NFL Network.  (Of course, the games also will be available via DirecTV, and through Sprint phones equipped with NFL Mobile Live.) 

So while we understand the business realities of the league’s decision to eschew $350 million per year in revenue that could have been generated from selling the Thursday-Saturday night package in order to build its in-house television operation, there are certain occasions where exceptions need to be made.

And Saturday night would be a great opportunity to extend some goodwill toward men (and women and children) via a Christmas gift in the form of a true nationwide audience for one of the best games of the 2009 regular season.

We’d also ask for the Colts-Jaguars game to be exported to broadcast networks, but we’d feel bad if Jacksonville were the only city in the country that didn’t get to air it. 

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25 Responses to “Colts, Saints games will stay on NFLN only”
  1. SteelerNation says: Dec 14, 2009 10:53 AM

    The difference this year is that Comcast has moved the NFLN off their sports tier.

  2. LionsFan says: Dec 14, 2009 10:54 AM

    I hope they stay on the NFLN. The idea of anyone exerting political pressure to have a NFL football game on NFLN being broadcast on network TV is ridiculous. It was ridiculous when it happened two years ago and would be even more so now.
    Speaking of the NFL Network… I am still baffled as to why the NFL Network has such a hard time producing a professional looking live broadcast of their own games. While they have improved somewhat since the first year they started airing games, the games aired and produced on the NFL Network still have a very second-rate look and feel to them (Millen and whoever is with him in the booth do not help).
    It’s surprising, since the NFL is, in all other aspects, so great at marketing and packaging their product. Their NFL Films division, for example, is fantastic. But when it comes to a live broadcast of their own product, I find the NFL really, really lacking.

  3. RomoMomentum says: Dec 14, 2009 10:55 AM

    And Saturday night would be a great opportunity to extend some goodwill toward men (and women and children) via a Christmas gift in the form of a true nationwide audience for one of the best games of the 2009 regular season.
    The same “best game of the season” that you said would end up 48-10, last night?

  4. litemater says: Dec 14, 2009 10:56 AM

    Though the Week 15 games involving Indianapolis and New England will indeed be available to a larger slice of the nation — 48 percent of it
    New England? You might mean Saints….

  5. TCGreen says: Dec 14, 2009 11:00 AM

    This seems pointless. Why would anyone even considering making a big event out of two teams trying to go 14-0? MAYBE, MAYBE if both teams are heading into Week 17 undefeated you look at some special broadcasting moves. But doing that for Week 15 games? That doesn’t make any sense at all. Why would you even bother asking about it? Seems like a waste of time. 16-0 is special. 14-0 is incredibly good, but not special.

  6. leatherneck says: Dec 14, 2009 11:21 AM

    In all seriousness, folks, if you don’t have NFLN, you are missing out. NFL Total Access (7:00 pm eastern each night) is a great show. The highlights they do of the games are better than what NBC does. We all know ESPN used to have great highlights on Sunday night but then NBC budged in and screwed that up. Now the best Sunday evening highlights package is NFLN.
    As for PFT (property of NBC) constantly bashing NFLN, really guys, it’s transparent. Who wouldn’t bash a rival, especially one that is good at what they do?
    FWIW, I hate Keith Olbermann. Have a nice day.

  7. Brewster says: Dec 14, 2009 11:21 AM

    One of the worst elements of it being on NFLN is that the product quality that the NFLN provides, the entire broadcast package, is third rate. Some regional sports networks put out a better product than the NFLN.
    It’s a good thing the NFL owns the NFLN because if they didn’t they wouldn’t even bothering to negotiate rights with an amateur group like this.

  8. Gergie says: Dec 14, 2009 11:22 AM

    I don’t get it, I believe there were 37 million viewers to the Packer/Viking game on Nov. 7th on Fox had about 30 million viewers. (I’ve seen numbers between 29 and 37 million).
    I know the NFL network is trying to build subscribers for it’s network, but at what cost?

  9. Tyler says: Dec 14, 2009 11:25 AM

    Last year, NFL Network had the Colts at Jaguars game. During the game, in actual playing time, they showed Dukes and co on the sidelines talking and in the studio. They skipped to the game, when the red zone was close.

  10. Hap says: Dec 14, 2009 11:25 AM

    And what would you do if you were The NFLN ?
    Right. That’s WHY they are doing WHAT they are doing.

  11. ch19079 says: Dec 14, 2009 11:27 AM

    Several teams have played on NFLN this season. Some teams have been blacked out. Some fans cant watch their team because they are out of town and the local team was on TV.
    This happens every year. Unless you have NFLN and Sunday ticket through Directv, you may not get to watch every NFL game that you want. Thats just the way it is.
    Im tired of hearing complaining and crying about this. If it bothers you that much, pay for suday ticket like millions of other people do every year.

  12. darrius_heyward-bey-butterfingers says: Dec 14, 2009 11:32 AM

    I have direcTV but I’ve been considering switching to my local cable company, since I am out of contract and would save a bunch with a tv/Internet/phone bundle. All that has stopped me from making the jump is the NFL network games. If they start airing important NFLN games over the air again i’ll kiss direcTV bye bye.

  13. pubobby2004 says: Dec 14, 2009 11:46 AM

    @ch19079
    exactly right. if you want to see the games, make it happen. i’m a colts fan, and a purdue fan. when all these leagues (big 10, NFL, etc) started their own networks and became the only place to see your teams, i had to switch cable providers. initially, i had brighthouse (no NFL network), so i moved to comcast. then came the big 10 network, so i moved again to direcTV. now, they don’t have VS, so i’ll consider another change.
    it drives me crazy to hear people who think they have some inalienable right to TV programming. we live in a free-market society (for now), so supply and demand wins. be thankful, that we DO have the right to choose what provider we want. so if you want the game, go find it. THAT is your right.

  14. 4ever19 says: Dec 14, 2009 12:12 PM

    45 years a Colts fan and I have no desire to see them play out the string. So it is a good thing they are staying on the NFL Network. Now where did I put my Curtis Painter jersey?

  15. footballrulz says: Dec 14, 2009 12:31 PM

    FWIW, I hate Keith Olbermann. Have a nice day.
    ——————————————————–
    I’m with you there leatherneck. I have yet to watch the NBC pregame and will not as long as that pin head is on it.

  16. Chadowe says: Dec 14, 2009 12:35 PM

    I love the NFLN, including their production of live games, I just can’t choke down the gag reflex when I hear Millen offering any opinions. As a result, I don’t move heaven and earth to catch an NFLN game, like I do on Sundays and Mondays.
    FWIW, I don’t listen to the pre and post games of MNF, because of the same gag reflex.
    Yeah, I’m a Lions fan.

  17. NFL_1974 says: Dec 14, 2009 1:50 PM

    You can bet if NE was undefeated, CBS and or NBC would be wanting the games televised on their network. The pro NE crap on these networks is ridiculous. Show the games people actually want to see.

  18. bspurloc says: Dec 14, 2009 1:53 PM

    The NFLN is the biggest piece of shit scheme ever introduced to football.
    It has NOTHING to do with the fans, its only point is to make more money……
    I watched some of the last nfln bs online, since its my only option. It was so damn pathetic, 3 people sitting at a desk sipping coffee, what kind of horseshit is that????
    First of all there is no reason for THURSDAY games let alone Saturday games…. MORE Money to the scumbags at the top. It has NOTHING to do about the fans.
    Along with the horseshit of making teams fly to england or play in Canada. If I was the owner I would make my team go to their home stadium during these bullshit out of countries games and forfeit the game.
    This is crap the moron bob costas should be talking about not, changing overtime rules cuz they are unfair….. stupid ass soccar mom complainer….

  19. slutnuts says: Dec 14, 2009 2:34 PM

    i’m with you bspuloc… i hate complainers, i mean next thing you know people will be complaining about more primetime games on thursday and saturday nights.. i mean whats the league’s problem, trying to give the fans more games to watch in primetime..and don’t get me started on shows that provide insight and analysis, despite the commentors having to sit down, and maybe drink some sort of beverage because they get thirsty. yup, bspurloc, you’re so right, know what else; stupid owners taking MILLIONS of dollars to have their teams play in canada or london, who do they think they are right, i mean just because you OWN the team doesnt mean you get to make the rules…yup “stupid ass soccar mom complainer” types really piss me off.

  20. MGN says: Dec 14, 2009 2:51 PM

    When NFL teams want new stadiums or tax breaks, the first words out of their mouths is how they are members of the community and we are all in this together and this is YOUR team. Then when it comes to things like this their all, we are a private business and this is MY team. So yes, people get upset when they don’t allow free broadcast of their games.

  21. pubobby2004 says: Dec 14, 2009 4:23 PM

    since when does the NFL have any obligation to fans? hello… you play to win the game. the NFL is a business, and to win in business, you generate as much money as you can.
    please wrap your head around this complainers. SUPPLY AND DEMAND.
    i’m actually a little confused as to why more games are not on the NFL network. if you had a product to sell, wouldn’t you sell it through your own store? unless it is more profitable to sell it through a distributor, i would say YES!
    sorry if you buy that crap about being in it for the community. i’m sure Enron said the same thing. It’s called PR.

  22. paranoidandroid says: Dec 14, 2009 6:17 PM

    F the NFL network

  23. paranoidandroid says: Dec 14, 2009 6:24 PM

    all of you that shell out more money for the crappy high school production that is the nfl network, is it really worth it? i’m sure that cleveland/pittsburgh game was just so incredibly great to watch. can’t believe i didn’t call my cable company up and bitch at them. yeah, i almost forgot how sad i was to miss chicago/san fran. damn, what an exciting matchup!
    you know, if the NFL had any brains you’d think they would try to schedule teams with some level of talent and interest.
    thats fine though, when the nfl season is over its nothing but rehashing old games, which espn does already for no extra charge.

  24. sven_ftw says: Dec 14, 2009 8:52 PM

    alright! another mediocre at best broadcast for a top rated match up!
    only way it could get worse would be if they let deion and irvin call it…

  25. jerry says: Dec 16, 2009 1:50 PM

    The gripe that I have is NFLN will not allow Suddenlink the same deal it gave Comcast. They were ready to sign the papers over the summer and NFLN decided they wanted more money! Here is my question “How much is enough?!”

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