I’ve got no real opinion regarding the league’s decision not to move the Ravens-Chargers game out of the Sunday night prime-time slot, in favor of the Battle of The Five-Letter Quarterbacks Not Named Favre. Baltimore at San Diego has the potential of being a better overall game than Patriots-Broncos, especially if Tom Brady and company can put the pedal to the metal early.
But plenty of people around the league have a very strong opinion about the situation. As one source with one of the teams not directly involved in the situation explained it, the decision has sparked a significant amount of strongly-worded email traffic among executives with the various teams regarding the manner in which the league handled the decision not to shift New England at Denver from 4:15 p.m. ET to 8:20 p.m. ET.
Per the source, there are two concerns. First, some teams believe that it’s the latest example of unfair and inconsistent treatment by the league office. Many believe that the Patriots pushed for the status quo, as a favor to CBS. Peter King of SI.com has suggested on Twitter that the Ravens and Broncos also were involved in the lobbying, and that the perception Pats owner Bob Kraft strong-armed the league into keeping New England at Denver on CBS is incorrect. (King promises to tell the full story in the next Monday Morning Quarterback.) Regardless of whether it was the Patriots only or the Patriots along with the Broncos and Ravens, the source explained that most teams are ignored when making requests regarding flexing and non-flexing decisions.
“Only a few clubs are treated with such delicate gloves,” the source said.
Second, there is some discontent with the league’s failure to be candid about the situation with the other 28 teams. The internal memo explaining the situation was regarded by some as an insult to the intelligence to those who understood what was going on — that CBS and NBC were fighting over which network would televise the game, and that one or more teams were actively involved in lobbying the league toward keeping Ravens-Chargers in the prime-time position.
As a result, other teams that now want to lobby for games to be flexed or not to be flexed will be able to point to Week 15 of the 2011 season as the precedent for trying to influence the process. And so the league office can expect the volume — and the volume — of such requests to increase in the future.