For the first time since the NFL began sliding late-season games from Sunday afternoon to Sunday night, the announcement regarding a flex-or-not-to-flex decision will be late.
“The NFL will decide (after consultation with CBS, FOX, NBC) and announce as early as possible the game being played at 8:15 p.m. ET,” the league’s flexible scheduling procedures state. “The announcement will come no later than 12 days prior to the game.”
According to the Ravens’ official Twitter feed, an announcement on whether the Baltimore-San Diego game currently set for 8:20 p.m. ET will be moved won’t be made on Tuesday night. Instead, a decision is expected Wednesday morning.
The league also has issued the following statement: “Due to NFL Committee Meetings in New York today, the Week 15 flexible schedule announcement will be released tomorrow (Wednesday, December 7). All of the clubs under consideration to have Week 15 games flexed have informed our office that they are interested in the strongest schedule for our fans and network partners.”
Based on the full slate of Sunday night games, NBC undoubtedly would prefer giving an early Christmas gift to all fans, via a Tim Tebow/Tom Brady showdown in prime time. But CBS, which lost Sunday’s compelling Broncos-Vikings game to FOX after the NFL shifted from Colts-Patriots to Lions-Saints and left FOX with a sparse slate of Sunday afternoon games, surely wants to avoid losing another three-hour Tebowmania tour.
In the end, the networks can argue and reason all they want, but the league makes the final decision. But it’s safe to say that folks with tickets to Ravens-Chargers and Patriots-Broncos should be prepared for the possibility that the kickoff time for both games will be moving.
We’re expressing no opinion on what should or shouldn’t happen, given our relationship with NBC. But we encourage PFT Planet to engage in a full and comprehensive debate and discourse in the comments regarding whether Ravens-Chargers or Patriots-Broncos is the right call for the evening of December 18.