Is the NFL "Flex Schedule" Going to Screw the Saints?
The T-P article I got my information from can be found here.
The NFL.com article comes from here.
For those of you who don't know what I mean by the NFL's "Flex Schedule," I'll let NFL.com explain it to you:
The NFL this season will implement for the first time in its history a primetime "flexible scheduling" element on Sundays in Weeks 10-15 and in Week 17.
Flexible scheduling will ensure quality matchups on Sunday night in those weeks and give surprise teams a chance to play their way onto primetime.
Hell, the headline of the NFL.com article even says that it "Allows teams to play their way onto NBC Sunday night schedule." In other words, the "Flex Schedule" meant that the NFL wasn't locking any teams into the NBC Sunday Night Football primetime schedule. It was done to ensure that you wouldn't have a matchup featuring a 3-9 team in December. If a team came out of nowhere (such as the Saints), it would be given just as much chance as anyone to get a primetime game.
Well, apparently (and not surprisingly) THE NFL LIED.
Now, let's turn to the T-P article that talks about how the "Flex Schedule" has already basically been determined.
The NFL has not released NBC's tentative schedule for the remaining six flex weeks -- Nov. 19, Nov. 26, Dec. 3, Dec. 10, Dec. 17 and Dec. 31. However, The New York Times reported that NBC has penciled in Washington-Tampa Bay on Nov. 19, Philadelphia-Indianapolis on Nov. 26, Seattle-Denver on Dec. 3, New England-Miami on Dec. 10, Kansas City-San Diego on Dec. 17 and Pittsburgh-Cincinnati on Dec. 31.
Hmmm, don't see the Saints anywhere on there, do you? What a shock.
The first game chosen was the Bears and the Giants. That should come as a surprise to no one. And it deserves to be played in primetime. They're both probably playoff teams, and they come from big markets and have huge followings. No problem there.
Apparently this same weekend, the NFL is also throwing the Saints a "kind-of" bone: the NFL and Fox are "shifting the starting time for the Saints' game at Pittsburgh that day from noon to 3:15 p.m. as part of a national doubleheader on Fox."
NATIONAL DOUBLEHEADER? Are they implying that the Saints game is being nationally televised too? I live in Missouri right now. I won't be getting it. The Rams are playing at the same time. Some "national doublheader."
But look at the next week's "penciled in" game: The Redskins and the Bucs. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT????????????????? Look at their current records and their schedules the next three weeks. If everything goes as planned, NBC will be aring a matchup between two possible 2-7 teams in primetime.
That same weekend, the Saints are playing the Bengals. Yeah, NFL. The Saints are really getting a chance to "play their way into primetime." You'd rather show a bad Redskins team in primetime ONE MORE TIME than give the Saints a chance. I guess shots of Daniel Snyder and Tom Cruise in his box are more attractive ratings-wise than showing a Saints team that deserves it.
Then, turn to December. The NFL has "penciled in" a Dolphins game. The 1-6 Miami Dolphins. A Dolphins team that probably has to run the table from here on out to even be considered for the playoffs.
I turn now back to the statement in the T-P article:
"This is for the fans," Katz said. "All of our games are meaningful, but you don't want in Week 15 or 17 to have a 2-11 team in prime time. That doesn't help anybody. We want to give teams that weren't on our radar screen a chance to play their way into a meaningful game. We're trying to make sure that the most number of fans have an opportunity to watch games with the greatest implications.
The Saints are playing the Cowboys that weekend. We can't even get a sniff from the NFL when we play the freakin' Cowboys????????????????????
Now look, I'm grateful to the NFL for doing everything it could to keep the team here. It could have easily turned its back on us. It's giving us a chance to keep our team instead of just giving it away. But look, we DESERVE a primetime game or two. And not just when we reopen our stadium after an unprecedented MAN-MADE (that's for you, Seymour) disaster.
So come on, and put your money where your mouth is. Give us a chance to show the nation what we've got one more time.