The first 10 1/2 minutes of yesterday's game between the Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins was not televised in the Washington area because CBS did not feed the game to its local affiliate.
WUSA-9 did not begin showing the Redskins-Dolphins game until about 4 1/2 minutes remained in the first quarter. Until then, WUSA-9 aired the Raiders-Chiefs game, but cut away before its conclusion as soon as the Redskins feed became available from CBS.
The first play Washington viewers saw of the Redskins game was Mark McMillian's interception, which occurred on Miami's second possession. The Raiders-Chiefs game was tied at 38 with less than a minute to play when the switch was made.
A statement from CBS, televised by WUSA-9 at halftime of the Redskins-Dolphins game, said the Raiders-Chiefs game continued to be aired because it had playoff implications. The Redskins and Dolphins had earned postseason spots before their 4:15 p.m. game began.
WUSA-9 said the decision was made by CBS without the consent of the local affiliate. WUSA-9 anchor Bruce Johnson apologized to viewers during halftime on behalf of the station, "even though we had no say in the matter," he said.
An NFL spokesman said the league will investigate why CBS did not show the start of several games in their local markets yesterday. Viewers in Pittsburgh missed the first few minutes of the Steelers' game against Tennessee on KDKA-TV.
"We are disappointed with CBS's decision, which was made without consulting our office," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press. "It is a clear violation of league policy and we will discuss it with CBS tomorrow. The Oakland-[Kansas City] game preempted all 4 p.m. games."
Additionally, viewers in Fairfax County did not see the 1 p.m. game between Detroit and Minnesota because of a dispute between Fox and Cox Cable that has removed that network from the available choices. Fox is broadcasting one first-round playoff game (Sunday between the Cowboys and Vikings) but Saturday's playoff game between the Redskins and Lions at FedEx Field will be aired by WJLA-7, the local ABC affiliate.