The late-season procedures for sliding games from Sunday afternoon to Sunday evening has gone pretty smoothly since the league implemented the policy in 2006. This weekend, the swapping out of the Colts-Patriots game on Sunday night has created an unprecedented change in NFL programming.
The league’s Sunday afternoon broadcast formula consists of FOX televising games between NFC teams and CBS televising games between AFC teams. As to interconference games, the network handling the visiting team’s conference airs the contest.
That won’t happen in Week 13. The Broncos-Vikings game in Minnesota has been shifted from CBS to FOX.
The flexing of the Lions-Saints game to Sunday night left FOX with only two 1:00 p.m. ET games, while CBS had seven. The league decided that the move would increase the coverage area of the nine early games to be played on Sunday.
CBS likely isn’t thrilled with the outcome, since it gives FOX back-to-back Tebowmania games. In Week 14, the Broncos host the Bears in a game that, under the league’s formula, will be televised by FOX.
That will be FOX’s third Tebow game of the year, following a 45-10 thrashing of the Broncos by the Lions. CBS also lost the thrilling Tebow-driven win by the Broncos over the Jets to NFL Network.
The consolation for CBS could be that the game wouldn’t have been televised by CBS in the Twin Cities area, given that the game could end up being blacked out. For reasons to be explained in the next story posted, the Vikings likely have no choice but to buy up any remaining tickets at 34 cents on the dollar, as permitted by league rules.