Stop Complaining About NFL Primetime Matchups
The past few weeks of NFL primetime games have sucked. No mincing words there.
New Orleans blew out Indianapolis to the tune of a 62-7 score that is more like something you'd see from LSU on a Saturday than the Saints on a Sunday. Jacksonville and Baltimore played a Monday Night game that you only watched if you're a fan of one of those teams or absolutely despise the game of baseball.
The two prior SNF games were also brutal, a Vikings/Bears game that was wholly uninteresting and the Jets/Ravens doing their best to mitigate offensive football for years to come. They were absolutely terrible games, painful to watch.
But let's not forget the first four games of SNF, all of which came down to the final play. Saints/Packers (Thursday opener), Cowboys/Jets, Eagles/Falcons and Colts/Steelers explosively opened the season, one as exciting as the next.
Complaining about clunkers is senseless, especially when they looked good on paper coming into the season. Minnesota/Chicago was a poorly envisioned primetime contest but with the NFL's constant parity, Detroit/San Francisco looked bad on paper before the season too.
Indianapolis vs. Pittsburgh and New Orleans were must-see matchups–until Peyton Manning's neck injury grew more and more serious. However, even Colts/Steelers turned out to be a nail-biter. Neither NBC nor the NFL should be faulted for faltering quality due to one of the game's greats sustaining a lengthier injury.
Monday night football–that's a different story, a schedule that looked bad before the season began and is playing just that way. Whoever decided it was a good idea to give Jacksonville two home MNF games needs to be dropped off the scheduling committee.
Should the NFL adopt more flex scheduling?
Subpar MNF games have been a fixture since that slate moved from ABC to ESPN and became the second-tier of primetime selection. Yes, ESPN deserves better matchups for the amount of money it's paying. It just has never been reality with the most recent NFL contracts. MNF is now what SNF used to be.
The laundry list of outrageous suggestions following the Sunday Night thrashing in the Superdome are unfounded. Critics want flex scheduling for all SNF games, all season long. Some even want flex scheduling for MNF, which is frankly logistically impossible.
It will also serve to anger CBS and FOX who are paying a hefty sum of their own to broadcast top games to a large portion of the country on doubleheader weekends. No reason those two major players should be robbed of quality matchups on a weekly basis.
Each and every year the NFL is difficult to predict. If schedule-makers correctly slotted the most exciting game into primetime every week, they'd be Nostradamus-like. I'd suggest them for Cabinet positions because they would be possessing some foresight that everyone else is missing.
Flexing everything is not the answer though. It will only make life more frustrating for the fans who invest in incredibly expensive tickets for NFL games. On top of that, it's just not going to happen. CBS and FOX are not going to go for full-season flex scheduling that would wreak havoc on their weekly slate and its subsequent promotion.
We get plenty of good primetime matchups. Not every week can be an instant classic. If you don't like the primetime game, go watch Desperate Housewives, Two and Half Men or turn off the TV.
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