The afternoon football games will be a little later this season.
The NFL announced Thursday morning that all the second games on TV doubleheaders that were to start at 15 minutes past the hour will now start at 25 past the hour, to make sure the kickoffs of those games don’t come before the early games have ended.
From the NFL press release: “In researching the kickoff time shift, the NFL analyzed games from the 2009-11 seasons and found that 44 games required part of the audience to be switched to a mandatory doubleheader game kickoff. With a 4:25 PM ET kickoff time, that number that would have been reduced by 66 percent to only 15 games.”
For the Cardinals, that means the kickoff times of five games — three at home, two on the road — are impacted. (All times are Arizona.):
— Sept. 9, Seattle at Arizona, is now a 1:25 p.m. kickoff;
— Nov. 25, St. Louis at Arizona, now a 2:25 p.m. kickoff;
— Dec. 23, Chicago at Arizona, now a 2:25 p.m. kickoff;
— Dec. 9, Arizona at Seattle, now a 2:25 p.m. kickoff;
— Dec. 30, Arizona at San Francisco, now a 2:25 p.m. kickoff.
The games slated to start at 1:05 p.m. or 2:05 p.m. are not affected (and as always, the last seven weeks of the season are subject to flex scheduling, should the Cardinals play themselves into a race.)
Tags: schedule, television
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Part of the press conference from commissioner Roger Goodell at the Super Bowl today was the announcement (not unexpected) that the league would be extending the NFL Network’s Thursday night TV package to 13 games from the current seven (NBC will be taking the Thanksgiving night telecast). With the upgrade, in addition to all the Sunday night and Monday night games, every team in the league will get at least one primetime appearance in 2012.
The Cards, of course, didn’t have any primetime games in 2011, which wasn’t a shock given their struggles in 2010 (and no, I don’t know why Jacksonville got two Monday night games and a Thursday night game this past season.) The last time the Cards were on primetime was a Monday night home loss to the 49ers in 2010, a game in which I am sure Derek Anderson remembers well.
The Cards ended up with four primetime games in 2009 coming off their Super Bowl appearance — a Sunday night loss to the Colts, a Sunday night win in New York against the Giants, a Sunday night home win against the Vikings, and a Monday night road loss in San Francisco.
All primetime spots aren’t the same. These days, because of the network exposure, Sunday night has become the glamour slot, following by Monday night (although the league is still watching) and then Thursday. Thursday also isn’t exactly a player favorite because of the short week; what will be interesting to see is if the league makes sure Thursday teams are coming off a bye. That may be logisitically impossible, since the Thursday games will take place from Week 2 to Week 15.
The schedule, including primetime decisions, are announced in April. By then, free agency is finished and the league has a better idea of how teams will have changed. The first week of the season will have a Thursday night game, but it will be hosted by either the Giants or Patriots (whichever team wins) on on NBC.
Given the three Thanksgiving games on the non-NFL Network networks and the opening game, it is possible for every NFL team to have a Thursday game this season. We’ll see how that plays out.
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