Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Fans of booming kicks can find a Premier League match on another cable channel
Problem: Sometimes—horrific prime-time games (see past weekend as evidence).
Solution: Agree to switch some prime-time games (subject to a limit and advance notice to teams and fans) based on events beyond the league's control—like a career-threatening injury to a marquee quarterback or teams falling way short of expectations.
Context: Nothing against Jacksonville Jaguar kicker Josh Scobee—the guy tied an NFL record Monday night by nailing three 50-plus yard field goals in the Jag's 12-7 win over Baltimore—but Premier League soccer is available on basic cable for anyone interested in watching guys kick a ball around.
For Sunday or Monday night NFL games, it seems reasonable to expect competitive, entertaining contests between good teams.
We got neither last weekend. The Saints' 62-7 thrashing of Indianapolis was simply embarrassing (to all but the Saints' grateful fans). And the Jaguars-Ravens scrum on ESPN? I've seen Pop Warner teams execute their offenses more effectively.
Scheduling isn't always someone's fault; no one could have predicted the Colts' collapse when schedules were finalized last spring.
But why would Jacksonville—8-8 in 2010—have been tabbed for two Monday nighters this season? And who decided to schedule the Rams at Seahawks for a Monday nighter in December?
No matter; get ready for a healthy dose of the Eagles, Giants, Vikings, Cowboys, Jets and Patriots on Sunday nights (based on this schedule you'd think the NFL had no teams west of the Mississippi).
ESPN's slate is a bit more egalitarian, if not competitive. (can't wait for Vikings-Packers and Chiefs-Pats next month)
Meantime: no sightings of the 49ers, Bills, Bengals or Lions in prime time, although the Niners and Lions do appear on Thanksgiving. As will Miami at Dallas, a turkey of a game if ever there was one.
If the league can trundle teams to London annually, it can surely figure out how to switch a few prime-time games in November and December.
Meantime, be sure not to schedule holiday parties for December 4-5. Wouldn't want to miss Colts-Patriots or Chargers-Jaguars, would we?