FOX defends decision to turn off Texans in Austin, San Antonio


The FOX affiliates in Austin and San Antonio have been hearing it from Houston Texans fans over the last 24 hours, after viewers in those two markets were taken away from the final seconds of the Texans’ victory over the Falcons in favor of the start of the Cowboys’ game against the Cardinals.

That decision was made by FOX at the network level, and FOX says it was made for a simple reason: More people watch the Cowboys than the Texans in those two markets.

“Based on general interest in the Texans and Cowboys in both markets we stand by this decision,” FOX Sports spokesman Lou D’Ermilio told PFT via e-mail. “The Texans rating in Austin was a 12.1, while the Cowboy rating was a 21.7. In San Antonio, the Texans posted a 14.8, while the Cowboys did a 27.9.”

TV networks base their decisions on ratings, and if the Cowboys draw almost double the ratings of the Texans, a TV network is going to prefer the Cowboys. Still, it would seem that when the Falcons-Texans game went down to the final second, it would have made sense to keep that game on rather than switch to Cowboys-Cardinals.

But D’Ermilio said that San Antonio and Austin were both identified by FOX as “mandatory kickoff markets” for the Cowboys this weekend, and once that decision is made, there’s no flexibility to change the decision, regardless of how the early games play out.

“Unfortunately, it’s just one of those things where the timing of the early game played out in the worst possible way given the established circumstances,” he said.

It is unfortunate, especially for the Texans fans who missed out on seeing their team hang on to beat the Falcons.

76 responses to “FOX defends decision to turn off Texans in Austin, San Antonio

  1. In LA, we did not go to the Packers – Jints game until the end of the dreadful Vikes – Broncos tilt-a-whirl!

    Jints were up 7-0 by the time they cut over.

    Bleck on Fox.

  2. “Unfortunately, it’s just one of those things where the timing of the early game played out in the worst possible way given the established circumstances.”

    No, it’s just one of those things where you made a terrible decision. Is the Cowboys’ kickoff REALLY that much more important than a game that went down to the wire? I know that, if I wanted to watch the Texans game (full disclosure: I’m a Texans fan in Houston and we got the whole game), I’d be more than happy to miss the kickoff just to watch the end of a really exciting game, no matter who was playing. And I don’t buy that “there’s no flexibility to change the decision” argument. That’s a lie Fox is telling just to cover their own backsides.

    The fact that Fox thinks they know what people want is ridiculous. Show the whole game.

  3. In nj, they cut the broncos vikings game(before the gw fg) to the start of gb/ny. I guess its cause of the local market but still

  4. The Fox switchover was even worse in New York! Here’s what WNYW viewers saw:

    * Vikings take the lead over the Broncos, 35-32. Broncos get the ball, when —

    * Dead air and darkness for about 12 seconds, then —

    * The closing seconds of Texans/Falcons, only to hear ten seconds in: “We will be taking you to your game momentarily.” Final play in Texans/Falcons cuts to —

    * A commercial break. When the break is done, the game is joined “in progress” (Joe Buck is just turning to Troy Aikman asking him what he expects to see for the Packers/Giants game).

    I understand New York was going to be cut away no matter way (it was a Giants home game) but that was quite a clusterfudge by WNYW.

  5. Jimmy, how can you possibly complain about missing the first two minutes of a game when compared to the last two minutes of a tight, high-scoring game?

    I hate the Broncos and the Vikings, but they topped 60 combined points and went to OT…of course, I didn’t see that, as the network first took me to some of the end of ATL-HOU for no good reason, and then over to five minutes of pre-kickoff coverage of SF-STL. I was pissed — I’d watched that game for about 3 hours and they took the last bit away for nothing.

    I don’t care who you are, or who you root for, every football fan prefers seeing the dramatic end of a tight game to the pre-kickoff pageantry and commentary you’d get otherwise.

  6. Yeah I’m sure throwing out the rating numbers will help the texan fans feel better. the explanation is worse then the action.

  7. It’s unfortunate that you cannot take responsibility for a stupid decision. What’s more important: the first two minutes of a game or the last two minutes?

    Also, they didn’t cut away to the Cowboys game. They cut away to two minutes of commercials, then the start of the game.

  8. The mandatory kick off rule is completely stupid in general.

    Don’t you think most true football fans would sacrifice the first minute or two of their teams games in order to see the dramatic ending of another game?

    I was in Atlantic City yesterday and Fox carried the Denver-Minnesota game. I was thinking how lucky I was that I wasn’t watching from my home in the NYC area because I would have been taken away from the dramatic ending of that game and sent to the meaningless opening 2 minutes of the Giants game (assuming Fox was even showing a doubleheader in my home town).

    And it’s not like they stay with the dramatic game to the very last second before kickoff of the late game. They cut away to several minutes of commercials first.

    The whole stupid rule just gives me a headache.

    Sunday Ticket on cable NOW!

  9. What about Fox dropping the Vikings – Broncos game with 2 minutes left in a tie game…This is in MN btw.

    They switched over to the Texans – Falcons game, which nobody in MN cares about.

    By the time we got a radio set up and tuned in, it was just after Ponder threw the pick in Broncos territory.

    Cutting the end of the Texans game for fans in Texas is BS, but slightly understandable since its also the cowboys market. But why on earth would Fox cut away from the Vikings IN MINNESOTA to show us Texans – Falcons?

    Again it was a close game, and was shaping up to be the most exciting viking game all year… then they cut away for the final 2 minutes when its tied.

  10. same thing with happened to the damn Broncos game in NY for the Giants game. i was so pissed when that happened.

  11. stevepany says: Dec 5, 2011 6:47 PM

    Here is a solution NFL SUNDAY TICKET= PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!!!!!
    A much cheaper solution is the RedZone…you would have seen the ending of the game and then could have flipped back to FOX or do what I do when my team isn’t playing…stay on the RedZone. At $5/month (on U-Verse)…it’s a no brainer.

    RedZone is better than the ticket for my purposes…they do all of the work to deliver me the most compelling plays.

  12. It could have been worse……they could have cut away from both games to pummel us with the seemingly unending ads for “Bones”, “X-Factor” and “Glee”.

  13. Cutting the end of the Texans game for fans in Texas is BS, but slightly understandable since its also the cowboys market.


    Houston is the Texans’ only market. The rest of Texas and most of the world belongs to the Cowboys.

  14. This is why I bought the NFL Sunday Ticket so no one could force me to watch a game I do not care about. Also, if you do not have Direct or Dish then you should find a local bar with Direct or Dish and invite every Texan fan you know to meet for every game. I am sure the sports bar owner will appreciate your business.

  15. this is nothing new; it reminds me of the heidi game. but does anyone expect fox to make a decision for us ninety nine percenters?

  16. If they can’t open another channel like the four letter network does at times and give you a heads up if you are tuning in for the late game, can’t they do a split screen? If auto-racing has figured this out for commercials, can’t the almighty NFL do this in these situations?

    Am I going to be fined for badmouthing the NFL?

  17. @realitypolice …

    Seconded!!! The reason the cable companies won’t play ball (so to speak) with the NFL on carrying the NFL Network is because the league refuses to negotiate with them on a Sunday Ticket package. I’m tired of the NFL trying to blackmail me into getting a satellite dish when it’s not a good choice in my weather zone. More people would buy Sunday Ticket if they’d make it available through cable.

  18. “stevepany says:
    Dec 5, 2011 6:47 PM
    Here is a solution NFL SUNDAY TICKET= PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!!!!!”
    apparently you don’t have NFL Sunday Ticket because if you did you would know that if the game is shown in your local area it is blacked out and unavailable via NFL Sunday Ticket…

  19. bahzeal says: Dec 5, 2011 7:12 PM

    wanna watch the game from start to finish? go to the game. otherwise be happy with what you have.

    Thanks for the advice Judge Smails

  20. Hey People,
    Think about it for a minute, for the record I am in Green Bay.
    This is December football, I can certainly understand cutting out the Viking/Bronco game, no real playoff implications. On the other the Texans vs Falcons High implications as did the Cowboy/ Cards. Playoff type football will always be the priority with the networks not only Fox.

  21. Wow, someone should invent two games on the screen at the same time or picture in picture. Then if something was happening in one game, they could make that game larger and a kickoff smaller. Someone should come up with that and sell it to FOX.

  22. For those who keep saying the Redzone is better than the NFL Sunday Ticket, maybe you should realize that it (the Redzone) is included in the Sunday package. That being said, it’s well-overpriced but if you call to complain, they drop the price in half.

  23. I’m just mad that FOX made Houston fans watch a “gimme” game like the Cowboys-Cards game over the Packers-Giants matchup. Sure, it turned out not be a a “gimee”, but just saying.

  24. Fox in general does a bad job with the NFL. Im still horrified at having to listen to Joe Buck. They also do little things that infuriate me. Like during the Giants-Packers game, there was a few times they came back late from commercial break and we had missed a play. Thats just not acceptable from a major network

  25. To the posters promoting Sunday Ticket or the Red Zone, you’re completely missing the point. Fox is failing to meet the needs of their viewers. They paid billions to the NFL to broadcast and I’m sure they don’t want viewers to watch the NFL network instead. They ought to listen to the fans instead of being so numbers driven.

    Fair and Balanced, my foot.

  26. Thats why the Texans should stay CBS and Cowboys FOX…

    I know the road team dictates which station will carry the game.

    I love my NFL Redzone.

    Also, why couldn’t FOX do a split screen? Like a previous poster said, it went straight to 2 minutes of commercials when there were just 8 seconds left in the Texans Falcons game.

    That spokesman for FOX affiliate is a Douche’ Man Up!!

  27. I’m a law student in a ghetto apartment with rabbit ear antennas set up to my awesome TV that was a graduation gift. i can’t afford Sunday Ticket and all I want to do is watch the last 8 seconds of my Texans game. Why is life so difficult?

    I’m kidding, but Fox should really have just apologized, fixed the issue, and moved on.

  28. I live in cant think of who made a worse decision, Fox’s management or cowboys coaching. Both sucked and ruined the game

  29. The end of a game is always much more exciting (and important) than a kick-off. NFL TV Rules are stuck in the stone-age.

    Funny that the Cards/Cowboys game is being mentioned as one that has playoff implications. Sure it ended up having playoff implications, but it shouldn’t have.

  30. They should just get rids of the lead-in junk of the late games: ads and the two talking heads wasting time before kickoff.

    Worst one I had in recent years was the Packers v. the undefeated Titans in 2008. Titans are lining up for a longish FG that would win the game in OT and the feed is cut right when they were snapping the ball. Then there were literally 5 minutes of ads, followed by a few minutes of pre-game for the late game. And then just after kickoff they go to a gamebreak to show the final play.

  31. I’m a Packers fan, but I’d rather catch the closing seconds of any exciting game rather than the opening seconds of the Packers game – especially if it has playoff implications.

    In New York, Fox cut away from the MN-Denver game in the closing seconds (game undecided), to the feed of the Atlanta-Houston game, closing seconds, game undecided – then to the start of GB-NYG. So they teased the ends of two close, undecided games. Idiots.

  32. I’m in Austin and was watching the CBS game, which was Steelers/Bengals. Once the score got too lopsided, they swapped to the Jets game, which was close at the time. About 5 minutes later, the Jets game became a blowout, and they kept it on that game the rest of the way. I used to have Sunday Ticket, but dropped Directv due to the sluggish receivers. I like Dish a lot better, but I do miss Sunday ticket at times.

  33. Yeah I am kind of sick and tired of this crap here in Austin. I can almost buy this “Cowboys” market except I won’t for 2 reasons:

    1. They didn’t cut away to the kickoff. They cut away to a few minutes of pre-game BS. There was 8 seconds left on the clock in Houston. C’mon man.

    2. A couple of years ago you were lucky to see any Texans game televised here in Austin. CBS opted to air the Tennessee games because Vince Young was playing there. Complete crap. Way to show some state loyalty.

    The fact is that the Texans get no love along the I-35 corridor. Folks down here prefer the over-hyped, often scandalous Cowboys over a real team with class.

  34. im a giants fan. idc if its the last play of the greatest regular season game in the history of the nfl, if it doesnt involve the giants im going to be pissed as f’ing hell if they cut off my kickoff. love football but compared to even insignificant plays i only what to see the giants, period. ill watch highlights of other games later.

    the whole switching to commercials and pregame however, i agree thats just nonsense.

  35. i called and complained i got my sunday ticket and all the movie channels for an extra 5 dollars a month i had to ask several time if this was real and mad her send me an email immediately

  36. howley1 says:
    Dec 5, 2011 7:06 PM
    Cutting the end of the Texans game for fans in Texas is BS, but slightly understandable since its also the cowboys market.


    Houston is the Texans’ only market. The rest of Texas and most of the world belongs to the Cowboys.

    Man thats cold..cold as “ICE”. Lets take a “TIME-OUT” here. The real “KICKER” here is that Texas was a Cowboy’s state. Now they are the laughing stock.

    Go Texans

  37. This is my solution. I’ve been preaching it for years. START THE LATE GAMES AT 4:30ET! Wow. That was so hard. Jesus christ.

  38. Folks down here prefer the over-hyped, often scandalous Cowboys over a real team with class.


    That’s like saying that folks prefer a juicy, scandalous ribeye to a day old classy Whataburger.

  39. The FOX affiliate out of Minneapolis who carries the Vikings home games carried the Vikings/Broncos game in its entirety, then switched over to the Packers/Giants game.

    It’s BS that they can’t air the last play of the Texans game instead of the opening kickoff of the Cowboys game against the Cardinals. There needs to be a little more room for flexibility from FOX and the NFL.

  40. The Bush Administartion had 8 years to sue the NFL and end the illegal monopoly on Sunday Ticket. They preferred to protect the fat cat NFL over the little guy. Vote accordingly.

  41. Could’ve been worse. You could have been a Bucs fan who stayed at the entire Bucs game in Tampa…..ehhhhhh

  42. I save up all year to pay for the outrageously price Sunday Ticket for one reason only…..I HATE THE COWBOYS and want to have another option whenever they are playing. I was royally ticked off Sunday when they cut away with 8 SECONDS left in the Texans game only to go to a commercial and then the idiot talking heads before the start of the Dallas game. Disgusting!

    Thank GOODNESS for the Ticket so I don’t have to watch those losers every week!

  43. timmieratx:

    It only let me give you one thumbs up, though I clicked a dozen times!

    FOX: We all wanted to see your commercials instead of the last few seconds of a really interesting game with an awesome story line. Now we know what not to buy and who we won’t buy it from!!!! Thank you, jerks!

  44. The worst thing is, they didn’t even cut to the game – it was a freaking commercial! And the stations couldn’t wait 30 seconds to finish a game their viewers had tuned in all game for???

    We’ve got a term for that in Texas. Bullsh*t.

  45. jrsmits says:
    Dec 5, 2011 7:33 PM
    Hey People,
    Think about it for a minute, for the record I am in Green Bay.
    This is December football, I can certainly understand cutting out the Viking/Bronco game, no real playoff implications. On the other the Texans vs Falcons High implications as did the Cowboy/ Cards. Playoff type football will always be the priority with the networks not only Fox.
    Huh? At that point DEN was playing for the AFC West lead. No real playoff implications? Aside from now leading their Division they also now hold the AFC wildcard lead since they own the tiebreaker over Cincy. So yeah, I’d say their were ‘playoff implications’

  46. They all do that…Espn/Directv have done it many times. A month ago, was looking at a college football game, tied, couple minutes to go. The next game was honna be blacked out. They blacked out the game I spent 3 hrs looking at in the last 2 minutes so I can watch the game they want me to on ABC.

  47. The FOX Network business model:

    – Show lots of NFL games. People like those.
    – During NFL games, air Glee ads.
    – During Glee, air revenue-earning ads.
    – Repeat.

    Why not just get rid of the second step and earn ad revenue during the NFL games?

    Also: there’s usually a lot of bluster from obnoxious Cowboy fans in Houston – on the radio waves, the Internet, all that. That chatter’s been pretty quiet lately.

  48. The most annoying part of this decision wasn’t that they chose to cut to the Cowboys game, but that they cut out of the Texans game to show at least a minute of commercials followed by pregame coverage. They did not cut straight to kickoff as they would have you believe. With only 8 seconds left in the game their reasoning makes no sense.

  49. Is it really that big of a deal for the networks to go into side-by-side or inset mode for a few minutes when there’s a situation like this?

    What good is technology if some stupid rules are put in place that keep us from utilizing it?

    Like so many things in this world…common sense has to be last in line as an option.

  50. In WI the Vikings/Bronco’s was dumped for Texans/Falcons which was then dropped for Packers/Giants. It was tacky and unprofessional. What I can’t figure out is why the Cowboys are still “America’s Team” even though the have not really been “America’s Team” in decades. And its a good thing Fox showed every second of the Cowboy’s/Cardinals game, I am sure every Cowboy’s fan enjoyed the final outcome of that game.

  51. Well, FOX if you guys lack the knowledge of game presence along with situational circumstances then someone should probably be fired or hired, because you guys are obviously in vital need of some serious management restructuring.

    Look the Texans scenario:

    The AFC’s best and injury plagued Houston Texans were up 17-10 with their 3rd string QB against wildcard hopeful Atlanta Falcons. With only one play left in the game and the Falcons driving down the field with one of the best deep attacks in the game, you guys decide to change the game for an opening kick off. Your logical behind that decision should get someone canned. Dallas fan or not they are a fan of football and I don’t see any person in their right mind, especially in Texas, that would not want to see the last play of a close Texans game then the Cowboys kickoff.

    By the way, your ratings are more than likely flawed. Just because the Cowboys have higher ratings it does not mean people are more interested in them. Rather, it could simply mean that people go out on SATURDAY NIGHTS and don’t wake up before 12:00 to watch the Texans play.

    All and all, you guys are media idiots with no sport intelligence.

  52. philtration says: Dec 5, 2011 7:28 PM

    bahzeal says: Dec 5, 2011 7:12 PM

    wanna watch the game from start to finish? go to the game. otherwise be happy with what you have.

    Thanks for the advice Judge Smails

    thanks for the compliment. had to look that one up.

  53. Ah the irony: Texan fans angry they didn’t see the end of their game; Cowboy fans angry they SAW the end of their game.

  54. San Antonio and Austin have wayyy more Cowboy fans than Texan fans, and all you cheapskates should shut up and pay for DirecTV.

  55. AAARRRGGG!!!!!!

    I live in Austin and am a Cowboys fan and saw this. I don’t care if it’s the Seahawks vs. the Rams. If the early game is coming down to a photo finish, keep it on. Those are the truly compelling moments of games.

    They are more important than the first few plays of any other game.

    FOX, try not doing dumb stuff like making inflexible rules in advance. Allow flexibility.

  56. The Cowboys were sold to Arkansas a long time ago.

    San Antonio and Austin are Cowboy country but so is Little Rock.

  57. FOX did not pay billions to the NFL for the right to entertain people with good programming.

    They did it to sell commercials.

  58. As I was preparing to log in, I wrote an entire book in my mind. However, I will give you only the conclusion here. The problem was touched on by only one (I think) commenter. The single problem is not Fox, they are just included. The single problem is: THE NFL. Just think about it for a short time and you will agree, I believe.

  59. I can’t help myself. I want you to know that if I were the TV czar of NFL football, all the owners and players and tv folks and tv sponsors would hate me, but all of you would love me. Here is a little test: Is there anyone among you who does not know the name on all coaches’ headsets? If you connect the dots on that, you know I’m the man for the job.

  60. You need to realize that a majority of Texans fans outside of Houston are COLLEGE students from Houston, like me at UT-Austin. Do you really think we can afford NFL Sunday ticket?!?!?

    CBS coverage is way better anyway!!

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