Earlier today I broke down the Week 13 TV schedule for the NFL, but a most unusual occurrence completely went over my head: Denver, an AFC team, is playing on the road against Minnesota, an NFC team…on FOX.
Why is this so strange? Because non-primetime games with AFC road teams are always broadcast on CBS. It has been this way for 30 years. In fact, it’s a rule.
By NFL broadcasting rules, CBS must broadcast all regional games in the visiting team’s home market (and, if sold out, the city the game is being played in), in its entirety, regardless if the game has a close outcome or is a blowout
So why is Denver-Minnesota on FOX?
Ari Kaufman figured it out. As he just broke down to me via email:
This week’s Detroit-New Orleans game was recently flexed to Sunday Night Football because the previously scheduled New England-Indianapolis game has turned out to be such a poor matchup.
Because of this switch, New England-Indianapolis became a 1:00 game; and since it features two AFC teams, it was added to CBS’ schedule.
However, this created the odd situation in which CBS would have had seven early games with FOX having only two. Thus, the Denver-Minnesota game was given to FOX to balance things out a little bit.
Ari cannot remember a time when this – and AFC road team playing on FOX (or, conversely, an NFC road team playing on CBS) ever happened before, and I cannot either. Certainly the only time it could have happened is since flex scheduling was added with the introduction of Sunday Night Football. If we’re forgetting another example of this, comment below.
Anyway, just a fun little tidbit for anyone interested in sports scheduling.
So for all those who were wondering why Denver and Minnesota are on FOX, now you know – and, *gasp*, in this case something involving the Broncos has nothing to do with Tebow Magic. Just good old logistics.