Everybody wants a little piece of Tebowmania and that includes the networks that broadcast NFL games.
The NFL is expected to announce today whether it will flex into prime-time the Dec. 18 game between the Denver Broncos, on a 6-1 roll with Tim Tebow working miracles at quarterback, and the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady (who’s no slouch, either, despite those Ugg’s ads).
Flex scheduling after Week 10 allows NBC to pick the marquee “Sunday Night Football” game it telecasts and it’s eagerly eyeing the game, presently set for a 4:15 p.m. EST start in Denver, as a replacement for the Baltimore Ravens-San Diego Chargers game.
Tebow vs. Tom? Who can blame them?
Not so fast with the faith and Faith Hill references. CBS, the AFC network, reportedly wants to keep the game and a decision, which typically comes 13 days before the game, still has not been announced, prompting rumors of a CBS-NBC battle royale. The NFL cited meetings for the delay.
“Due to NFL Committee Meetings in New York [Tuesday], the Week 15 flexible schedule announcement will be released tomorrow Wednesday, December 7). All of the clubs under consideration to have Week 15 games flexed have informed our office that they are interested in the strongest schedule for our fans and network partners.”
Rules stipulate that CBS and Fox, the NFC network, can protect one game each week from being flexed. CBS, according to the Boston Globe, opted to protect the New York Jets-Philadelphia Eagles game weeks ago — which seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, though, this is being sorted out with a maximum of intrigue at play. As Chad Finn writes:
CBS, however, could be excused for believing it is owed a break, having been flexed out of a Broncos/Tebow game just last Sunday. The Patriots’ matchup with the winless Colts, originally scheduled for “Sunday Night Football,’’ was moved to an afternoon game on CBS. The Saints-Lions game, scheduled for 1 p.m. on Fox, was moved to NBC. Because Fox had just two games to choose from in the early window, it was permitted by the league to take the Broncos-Vikings game from CBS.
So it’s not as easy as it might seem — and that’s not even taking into account preferences of the teams and owners.
A Patriots source told the Globe that, while owner Robert Kraft, who was in New York for executive committee meetings and heads the NFL broadcast committee, understands both sides of the issues, he may have concerns about how the late departure from Denver would affect the team’s plans for returning to Boston and beginning to prepare for the next game on Dec. 24. A Broncos spokesman told the Globe and Denver Post that the team has no preference when when the game is played.
Tebow played in prime time on Nov. 17, a Thursday night game carried on the NFL Network. (He and the Broncos beat the New York Jets 17-13.)
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