NFL schedule largely maintains tradition of NFC on Fox and AFC on CBS

NFL: DEC 24 Jaguars at 49ers
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So much for every Sunday afternoon NFL game being a free agent between CBS and Fox.

Despite the league saying previously that the new TV contracts would eliminate the traditional CBS-AFC, Fox-NFC schedule, most Sunday afternoon games are remaining on the same network they would have been on with the old TV contracts.

In Week One, there are seven Sunday afternoon games with an NFC road team, and five of those seven games are on Fox, with only two on CBS. There are six Sunday afternoon games with an AFC road game, and five of those six games are on CBS, with only one on Fox.

It’s similar in Week Two: There are 12 Sunday afternoon games, and 10 of them maintain the NFC-Fox, AFC-CBS tradition, while Fox gets one AFC game and CBS gets one NFC game.

In Week Three there are 12 Sunday afternoon games, with nine maintaining the NFC-Fox, AFC-CBS alignment.

As the season goes on the NFL has flexibility to change which networks are showing which games to put the best games in front of the largest TV audiences, but the trend largely remains the same: Most NFC games will be on Fox and most AFC games will be on CBS.

That’s also clear from the networks’ own promotions: When the schedule was released, Fox trumpeted 10 “Notable 2023 matchups” it is showing, and nine of those 10 are NFC games. CBS announced nine “featured national games” from its schedule, and eight of those are AFC games.

So while the league has given itself more flexibility to move games across networks, for the most part, Sunday afternoon viewing habits won’t change: AFC games will mostly be on CBS, and NFC games will mostly be on Fox.

14 responses to “NFL schedule largely maintains tradition of NFC on Fox and AFC on CBS

  1. Considering what the imbalance is with QBs in each conference, I’d say fox might be in trouble without the opportunity to show AFC games. But the owners themselves are to blame for that.

  2. This is for the best. Older folks are used to the conference/network “alliance”. Meanwhile, most younger people do not have that familiarity and have no problem getting their entertainment from varied sources. A gradual move away from the current split is the smart way for the NFL to proceed. In a few years no one will notice or care about what network is broadcasting a particular game.

  3. Small steps, in lieu of total upheaval to everyone’s normal routine. Change will happen, but it makes sense to allow for the successful pattern to continue in large part.

  4. Fox will be fine….they tend to focus more on Dallas/NFC East more than name players/QBs anyway.

  5. “ Considering what the imbalance is with QBs in each conference, I’d say fox might be in trouble without the opportunity to show AFC games.”
    In some cases, sure. But this is not guaranteed to be the case forever as the league is always changing. Also, a lot of the teams with young QBs come from smaller markets with less ratings draw. The Cowboys alone are worth quite a bit because of their ratings. In the past the NFC has been the slightly better conference for ratings.

  6. raiderdave31
    And yet.. NNFC teams were 41-39 vs AFC teams last year. Wow, the “imbalance”…

  7. Its funny how that works, as a whole I watch a lot more AFC games and actually don’t typically enjoy the FOX broadcasts. Maybe its because I don’t watch the NFC that often and its just a familiarity thing.

  8. True football “Fans” (which make up most of the viewing audience) don’t tune in based on who the QB is.
    They follow their team. There are plenty of HUGE fan bases for NFC teams and are huge ratings draws.
    So, the idea that a network covering the NFC will be “hurting” because Raiderfan THINKS they AFC QBs are better is pretty much a nonsensical argument.

  9. This is another example of why the NFL reigns supreme. Innovate without throwing things out of whack. Better: pitch innovation but don’t over do it.

  10. Fox pays the NFL 4-5% more per year, so they’re going to want the more valuable package of games. The NFC, as a whole, has more of the largest markets (DFW, CHI, PHI, ATL, Phoenix, DC, Bay Area) and the more popular franchise in the two shared markets (Giants over Jets and Rams over Chargers). The Cowboys’ national popularity has to be taken into account as well. If anything, CBS needs to be given a few good games that they wouldn’t receive under a strict AFC/NFC split to justify paying close to what Fox pays.

  11. Actually…tradition is NFC on CBS and AFC of NBC. Fox didn’t exist yet.

  12. Well normally I’d be upset at this but I’m already tired of hearing Greg Olsen’s squeaky voice on Fox. Never thought I’d say this but I miss Buck and Aikman. At least in big games, Buck sounds dramatic. Burkhart just elongates every call to make it sound dramatic but this voice inflections are overused and the games just don’t have that same intensity as they’re called.

    No one quite matches up to the Pat Summerall, Madden duo of the 90s.

  13. I don’t think the network matters to any fan. Much ado about absolutely nothing.

  14. Just because you have the ability to do something doesn’t mean you have to.

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