Wondering why the Denver-Minnesota game on Fox? Here is your answer

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.

About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.


  1. You're welcome. Go Broncos! Lots of orange in the HomerDome today.

  2. This was reported as being unprecedented since 1970…

  3. The rule regarding Sunday interconference games is whichever conference the visiting team is in, then that's the network that broadcasts the game. (i.e. if the visiting team is in the NFC, then FOX will broadcast the game. If the visiting team is in the AFC, then CBS will broadcast the game.)

  4. Not many AFC teams can say they played away from their stadium on FOX. But the Broncos are already one of them with Super Bowl 33 in Miami, John Elway's last game.

    Meanwhile the Lions made their first appearance on NBC since 1997 when Barry Sanders got to 2053 yards on the season.

  5. From 1970 through 1993, NFC daytime road games were on CBS and AFC daytime road games were on NBC.
    From 1994 through 1998, NFC daytime road games were on FOX and AFC daytime road games were on NBC.
    From 1998 through now, NFC daytime road games were on FOX and AFC daytime road games were on CBS.
    What we see here is the sole exception.

    As for Super Bowls, the rotation is currently amongst three networks, so you will have AFC road games on FOX, such as Super Bowl 33 (and last year's Super Bowl 45 as well). Super Bowls 2 through 18 followed the current daytime formula. This was back when only two networks carried the Super Bowl. ABC did Super Bowl 19.

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