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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Halfway thru 2011 NFL season, TV's East Coast bias in scheduling Sunday & Monday Night Football games, esp for Cowboys, Jets & Giants, is clear to see


clevelandthundercat video: A Browns Fan's Reaction To Today's Game Against Houston
Brilliant!

Within my lengthy post Tuesday about Peter Schweizer's hot new book titled "Throw Them All Out," about insider trading and crony capitalism on Capitol Hill,
I included a pithy and accurate secondary comment regarding what I called the "NFL/Madison Avenue nexus."

That is to say, the guiding hand at NFL HQ that causes the schedule-makers to force Cowboy, Jet and Giant football games down the country's throat before the holidays, in order to maximize the TV network's ratings, even if those particular games are crummy match-ups by the time they roll around -or worse- are of little general interest outside of certain East Coast area codes in and around the island of Manhattan.

Well, perhaps as a testament to how much some of you recall from what I right -or my ability to mention something here that's of interest to me that you find yourself in agreement with- I've received quite a few short emails from readers and NFL fans around the world who seconded my motion -and then some.

The general consensus for the past forty years among serious NFL fans I know and columnists I trust is that for the TV networks, the best scenario has always seemed to be having the Cowboys as a good team and playing at home or on the road against an East Coast city, regardless of how good the Cowboys actually are that year, since New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Atlanta are large markets.
(Obviously, you already know that they are all NFC and Fox-TV markets.)

In fact, more than any other team, it's been noticeable to even the most novice fan that even when the Cowboys are mediocre to average, as usual, the NFL has scheduled them for late season national games at times on Saturdays or Sundays that more-deserving teams should be paying at, almost as if the NFL marketing folks are closet Cowboy fans with their thumb on the scales.

Most NFL fans I believe could tolerate the schedule-makers giving the benefit of the doubt to the Steelers or the Patriots, as nobody ever thinks both teams will be bad in the very same year, but last I checked, the Cowboys haven't played in the NFC Championship since 1995, 16 years ago, yet they are forever the fair-haired favorites at NFL HQ.

That appearance and the simple facts that one can deduce from simply examining the schedule in even a cursory fashion, hardly seems to matter to the NFL, since the schedule this year once again seems to be set-up with the NFL's firmly hoping for the Cowboys to be good down the stretch.
But when has that hope become a reality the past few years?

For the Cowboys, December has been the month of giving -giving away ballgames they should've won.

The proof of that isn't just what we have already observed this year, but the fact that once again, the Cowboys are scheduled to host one of three late afternoon post-4 p.m. games on Christmas Eve Day, against... yes, an East Coast team, the Eagles.

For the record, the other two games are San Diego at Detroit and San Francisco at Seattle.
Seriously, which game do you think will be on local TV where you live that Saturday afternoon?

Now as we all know, there are supposedly limits on how often NFL teams can appear on Sunday or Monday Night Football, but for most fans, it rarely seems that way in practice, does it?
No, it seems that Mark Sanchez, Tony Romo and Eli Manning & Company are shoved down our throats at every single opportunity, and are always featured as pre-game or halftime interviews, despite the fact that we all have seen enough to know that they are not exactly sparkling conversationalists.

And, not surprisingly, given the common sense of most of you readers, some of those emails I received suggested that I print the entire NBC Sunday Night/ESPN Monday Night football lineup, plus the Thursday NFL Network schedule -which starts tonight with a Jets game!- so you can see for yourself whether or not it shows that East Coast bias, coupled with the Cowboy/Jet/Giant bias we've all come to expect from the NFL and the NY-based TV networks; with table scraps thrown to the rest of the country.

This year, for example, is a perfect example of what I was saying about the NFL schedule-makers loading-up for TV ratings sake.
It was a good month -four weeks- before there was a single Sunday night or Monday night football game that DIDN'T include either the Cowboys, Jets or Giants, who as of today, Thursday morning, have a combined record of 16-11.

Thru the first 12 weeks of the NFL season, there is NEVER more than ONE WEEK going by without an appearance on a Sunday, Monday or Thursday night game of the Cowboys, Giants or Jets.
How do you reconcile that?

In fact, if you look at the schedule for the first twelve weeks of NBC's Sunday night game, the farthest west they go is Kansas City, which will be two Sundays from now.
Not exactly a cross-country tour of America's love affair with the NFL.

Below, I'm going to highlight these three teams nationally-televised games on Saturdays, Sunday night, Monday night and Thursday night, and let you see whatever you want to see. Perhaps it'll be a pattern.
That's what I see.

Week 1
Sunday, Sept. 11th Dallas 24 @ NYJ 27
Monday Sept. 12th New England 38 @ Miami 24, Oakland 23 @ Denver 20

Week 2
Sunday Sept. 18th Philadelphia 31 @ Atlanta 35
Monday Sept. 19th, St. Louis 16 @ NY Giants 28

Week 3
Sunday Sept. 25th Pittsburgh 23 @ Indianapolis 20
Monday Sept. 26th Washington 16 @ Dallas 18

Week 4
Sunday Oct. 2nd NY Jets 17 @ Baltimore 34
Monday Oct. 3rd Indianapolis 17 @ Tampa Bay 24

Week 5
Sunday Oct. 9th Green Bay 25 @ Atlanta 14
Monday Oct. 10th Chicago 13 @ Detroit 24

Week 6
Sunday Oct. 16th Minnesota 10 @ Chicago 39
Monday Oct. 17th Miami 6 @ NY Jets 24

Week 7
Sunday Oct. 23rd Indianapolis 7 @ New Orleans 62
Monday Oct. 24th Baltimore 7 @ Jacksonville 12

Week 8
Sunday Oct 30th Dallas 7 @ Philadelphia 34
Monday Oct. 31st San Diego 20 @ Kansas City 23

Week 9
Sunday Nov. 6th Baltimore 23 @ Pittsburgh 20
Monday Nov. 7th Chicago 30 @ Philadelphia 24

Week 10
Sunday Nov. 13th New England 37 @ NY Jets 16
Monday Nov. 14th Minnesota 7 @ Green Bay 45

Week 11
Thursday Nov. 17th NY Jets @ Denver 8:20 PM

Sunday Nov 20th Philadelphia @ NY Giants 8:20 PM
Monday Nov. 21st Kansas City @ New England

Week 12
Thursday Nov. 24th Thanksgiving Day
Green Bay @ Detroit
Miami @ Dallas
San Francisco @ Baltimore, the Harbaugh Bowl

Sunday Nov. 27th Pittsburgh @ Kansas City 8:20 PM
Monday Nov. 28th NY Giants @ New Orleans 8:30 PM

Week 13 is when it gets interesting since though the NFL says that weeks 10-15 and 17 are when the "flexible schedule" kicks in for moving one Sunday afternoon game to Sunday night for NBC's telecast, they weren't/aren't about to abandon the Jets for Week 10 and the Giants for Week 14, were they?

Thursday Dec. 1st Philadelphia @ Seattle 8:20 PM

Sunday Dec. 4th
The two games most likely to be moved are Detroit @ New Orleans tentatively listed for a 1p.m. kickoff and Green Bay at, yes, the NY Giants slated for 4:15 p.m.

Monday Dec. 5th San Diego @ Jacksonville 8:30 PM

Week 14
Thursday Dec. 8th Cleveland @ Pittsburgh 8:20 PM

Sunday, Dec. 11th
What do you know, NBC has tentatively listed the NY Giants at Dallas for Sunday night, though by then, the Cowboys may already be eliminated from playoff contention.
What are the odds that NBC tosses this game?
We know the answer to that, don't we -ZERO chance!

Mon, Dec. 12th St. Louis @ Seattle

Week 15
Thursday Dec. 15th Jacksonville @ Atlanta

Saturday, Dec. 17th Dallas at Tampa Bay 8:20 PM

Sun, Dec. 18th
Tentatively scheduled for Sunday night is Baltimore @ San Diego, but they could drop that if Chargers are out of playoff contention by then -quite likely- and go with Seattle at Chicago, Detroit at Oakland or NY Jets at Philadelphia. Hmm-m...

Monday Dec. 19th Pittsburgh at San Francisco

Week 16, Dec. 22nd-25th, has a condition that weeks 10-17 didn't have -a guarantee.
The NFL guaranteed Chicago at Green Bay on Christmas night to NBC, and there are no night games on Christmas Eve.
See, the NFL really does care about its fans. LOL!

At first glance, the only surprising thing is that the Giants at Jets game was scheduled for 1 p.m. and not 4:15 pm, but then you noodle it thru and you see what the NFL has done for Fox-TV.
It has given them all three teams we've discussed in this blog post on what will likely be a huge viewing day on a day that American families will be, theoretically, together, with the Philadelphia at Dallas game following the battle of the two New Jersey teams.

No chance they were going to have two west coast teams playing in the second game, right?
It would be a real shame if the Giants eliminated the Jets right before Christmas, wouldn't it?

Thursday Dec. 22nd Houston @ Indianapolis 8:20 PM

Sunday, Dec. 25th Chicago @ Green Bay 8:20 PM

Monday Dec. 26th Atlanta @ New Orleans


Week 17
Sunday Jan. 1st
This week, the last regular season weekend, the two games most likely to be moved are the 1 p.m. Baltimore at Cincinnati and Detroit at Green Bay games.
But playing Devil's Advocate, guess who also plays at 1 p.m.?
Yes, Dallas at the NY Giants.

The TV networks would't bypass two possibly crucial games with playoff positions at risk for another collective FU to the rest of the country would they, just to get more NY eyeballs?
You bet they would!

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