Saturday night games won’t be an option for NFL until December

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At one point on Thursday, there was talk of the NFL moving the Week Five game between the Bills and Titans to Monday and, in turn, sliding the Week Six Thursday night game between the Chiefs and Bills to Saturday.

A Saturday game was never a viable option, assuming the league intended to actually televise the Chiefs-Bills game.

The broadcast antitrust exemption prohibits the NFL from televising games from the second Friday in September through the second Saturday in December. This year, that allows the NFL to begin televising Saturday games in Week 15 — and the NFL currently plans to do just that, with a tripleheader like the one the league staged last year.

Until then, any major surgery to the schedule occasions by COVID-19 can’t entail playing games on Saturdays for the next 10 weeks.

That’s why Chiefs-Bills goes from Thursday to Sunday, not Saturday. (And why Bills-Titans goes to Tuesday, not Monday.) Some have suggested that Chiefs-Bills should be scheduled for Monday night, giving the league a third straight doubleheader — which is perhaps the only good thing to come from the mess occasioned by the pandemic.