As the league looks for ways to make the presentation of its games more compelling on TV, the league needs to further embrace ways to present more compelling games.
Currently, flexible schedule isn’t available until Week Five, and even then it can be used only twice before Week 10. Ideally, the league would have the ability to slide games from window to window whenever it wants.
It would be a useful tool for Week Three. Currently, the late-afternoon games set for the first CBS doubleheader of the year consist of Bengals-Packers and Chiefs-Chargers. But the better games for the afternoon window happen in FOX regional windows, at 1:00 p.m. ET (2-0 Falcons at 2-0 Lions) and 4:05 p.m. ET (1-1 Seahawks at 1-1 Titans). Yes, the latter two games will be broadcast by FOX and, sure, the networks need certainty as to where and when they’ll be broadcasting games. But if the goal is to maximize interest and in turn audience, the league needs to have the ability to flip the switch as its discretion to move games around in order to achieve the biggest bang.
Even if the FOX games couldn’t have been moved to the CBS late-afternoon window, an early game on CBS — 1-1 Texans at 1-1 Patriots — would be more compelling at 4:25 p.m. ET than either of the current options. Reasonable minds may differ on that; regardless, the league needs to have the ability and the willingness to adjust the schedule whenever it wants in order to put the best games in the best spots on the weekly broadcasting calendar.