NFL Schedule Changes Create Havoc For Networks, On-Air Talent
The Chiefs are "becoming a fixture" on Monday nights this season, as their Week 6 game against the Bills will mark the team's third Monday appearance so far this season, according to Sam McDowell of the K.C. STAR. The game, which had been set for "TNF" this week, is being moved to next Monday on Fox due to the Bills' rescheduled game against the Titans tomorrow night. The Chiefs beat the Ravens on "MNF" in Week 3 and the Patriots in Week 4 on CBS in another game that "had to be rescheduled because of COVID-19 positive tests" (K.C. STAR, 10/12). NBCSPORTS.com's Peter King noted Chiefs-Bills will air at 5:00pm ET next Monday, meaning the NFL had to take a "very good" matchup "off a prime-time window." By moving the game and keeping it on Fox, it "gave a great game to a bad time slot," but it avoided making Fox "take a lesser game in the only part of the network inventory that is flexible: Saturday windows in Weeks 15 and 16" (NBCSPORTS.com, 10/12).
ISSUES FOR ANNOUNCERS: In Boston, Chad Finn reports the logistics of moving games due to virus concerns "become even more complex when television and the requirements of the league's broadcast rights holders are taken into account." The league last Thursday postponed the Broncos-Patriots game originally scheduled for yesterday for 24 hours and moved it from CBS to ESPN. A move like that does not "have a significant effect on the advertising aspect of the business," but it "does have a major effect on the people involved." Kevin Harlan and Trent Green were set to call Broncos-Patriots for CBS, and when it got moved, "much of the CBS crew was already in Foxborough preparing for it." However, they ended up "with no game to broadcast this weekend." Meanwhile, ESPN was made aware around dinner time on Thursday "that it was getting the game." When an official NFL announcement went out at 8:30pm, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit "hadn't even been approached about calling the game yet." The short notice "left them little prep time," especially since they "also had the call of the Miami-Clemson game Saturday night." Fowler, Herbstreit and the crew following that game "flew to Boston." However, at 9:00am yesterday morning, they "found out the game was postponed again, and the trip was for naught" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/12).
TUESDAY NIGHT LIVE? With Bills-Titans set to be just the second NFL game played on a Tuesday in more than 70 years, THE ATHLETIC's Richard Deitsch wondered if a "Tuesday Night Football" package could be an option "for the league and its media partners." Deitsch: "Would there be viewer interest? Could you get a buy-in from the players?" NFL VP/Communication Brian McCarthy: "It hasn’t been seriously explored but factors for consideration would be viewer appetite, competitive issues and whether it dilute the presentation of games" (THEATHLETIC.com, 10/12).