Teams in the Pacific time zone wanted a rule limiting how many early kickoffs they could be forced to play, but those teams were not able to convince the teams in the rest of the country to go along.
The NFL’s owners today voted down a proposal brought forward by the 49ers, Chargers and Cardinals, which would have limited how many road games Pacific teams could play early on the East Coast (and earlier in London).
The proposed rule said that no team will be scheduled to play more than three away games with a scheduled kickoff time prior to 1 p.m. in the time zone of their home stadium. For example, the 49ers have road games in Green Bay, Minnesota, Kansas City and Tampa Bay next season. The rule they proposed would mean that at least one of those games would have to be a 4 p.m. Eastern kickoff.
The problem is that the NFL likes to have flexibility for TV scheduling purposes, and limiting those early kickoffs could make it harder to set the television schedule to the league’s liking. And so the majority of teams who are east of the Mississippi won’t be accommodating the request of the teams out West.