The NFL had resisted for years the concept of flexing bad late-season Monday night games out of the prime-time slot, given the various logistical challenges associated with moving games not by a matter of hours but by a full day. The NFL has decided to live with the logistical challenges.
Per a source with knowledge of the new Monday Night Football deal with ABC and ESPN, flex scheduling potentially starts in Week 12. With at least 12 days’ notice, a game from Sunday can be moved to Monday night, and the Monday night game can be moved to Sunday.
The flexibility adds significant value to the Monday night package, giving ESPN/ABC and the league the ability to avoid games that may seem compelling in April but that can become stinkers as the season unfolds.
The flexibility comes with a cost. For teams flexed into and out of Monday night, long-settled travel arrangements will have to be changed, quickly. For fans, travel plans and work schedules may have to be adjusted, quickly. Also, tickets may need to be re-sold (preferably through the league’s official ticket reselling platform).
It would be smart for the league to come up with devices for assisting fans who find themselves in a scramble to change plans. Even if it’s a simple ability to automatically sell tickets back to the NFL at cost for either game affected by the Monday flex, that would be an appropriate gesture.
For other potential expenses, including plane fare, that’s now a risk that will be assumed by anyone who makes late-season plans to travel to a distant city to take in a game. The best advice is simple — make your trips before Week 12.
Otherwise, that Sunday game can become a Monday game, and that Monday game can become a Sunday game.