Are You Ready For Some Football?

So I understand the part about CBS showing the AFC and Fox the NFC. I even have an inkling of how inter-conference games get allocated.

But what are the rules for Monday night and Sunday night games? When Disney parts with all that money, do they know in advance that they’re going to get X division winners and Y top-10 markets and Z classic rivalries? Or do they fight it out year-by-year? Is there some compensation process when the games they get turn out to stink because the AFC-East Champion Jets went back to form?

What is the Straight Dope on Monday Night Football?

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

My WAG is that Eisner doesn’t get any compensation for boring games. But I would also WAG that Disney does have some influence with the NFL during the scheduling of Monday night games, which I think is done during the late summer, before injuries can change the importance of games.

The networks have extreme power over scheduling, right down to whether a game starts early or late. As Ronald surmised, MNF schedules are put together during the off-season. The NFL tries to schedule according to comparable strength (good teams play good, bad teams play bad) and the networks want marquee match-ups. When teams like the Falcons, 49ers and Broncos fall apart (and teams like the Rams and Titans go to the top), it blows everyone’s plans. Networks don’t get any givebacks when the ratings drop – that’s the risk they take until the next contract renegotiation.

I think I worded my question poorly. I know how the NFL sets the schedule. What I don’t know is the process to determine which games on a given year’s schedule will be Sunday night and Monday night games.

Let’s say I’m CBS, and I have the contract for the AFC. Well heck, going into the season I want to be able to show both Jets-Patriots matchups, Broncos-Jaguars, etc. I don’t want to give them up to Al and Boomer. Likewise, ABC wants those games instead of the Cinci-Cleveland extravaganza I want to stick them with.

So I’m wondering if there is a predetermined formula, or guarantees that ABC gets a certain mix of contenders/big markets, or if everyone just sits in the Commissioner’s office each spring to fight it out.

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

I sent an e-mail to earlier today. Maybe they can clear it up for us.

Dopeler effect:
The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

I believe ABC asks for the games they think will be the best. They will rarely ask for a game that they think won’t sell out because they don’t want to lose the local ratings to a blackout.

I think Sunday night games get lower priority. There is usually one of them in Arizona early in the year since the Cardinals don’t want to play in the midday Arizona heat in September.

I’m sure when they divy up the games, it has something to do with the previous years record, and I bet it favors ABC because MNF is probably more profitable for the NFL vs. the Sunday games. Then again, there have been plenty of seasons that MNF didn’t have one good game. I asked Eisner, and he wasn’t sure. He hates football.

ABC and ESPN, the foplks who show the Prime Time NFL games now, have absoluteluy no say as to what games rhey get. In addition, the other networks - Fo for the NFC and CBS for the AFC - do not get to decide what time games start.

The league makes the schedules well in advancwe of the year.

Of course, since Monday Night Football is amonng the most watched things on TV at any given time, the league realizes that it’s a pretty good idea to try and pair up quality teams with one another. As such, MNF gets “good” games based uypon the season before.

If the teams do not turn out to be “good” - a la the 49ers - it’s a tough shit situation. The league never promissed a rose garden, and they do the best they can.

The starting times of games depends on geography for the most part. Though you will sometimes see a 4OPM game starrt on the East Coast, seeing an 10AM game on the West Coast is pretty much unheard of, though I’d imagine it might have heppened from time to time.

Oh, and the way to decide who gets to broadcast the interleague games on the Sunday networks i that the visiting team’s conference gets preference. So if an AFC teamn visits an NFC teams stadium, the game will be shown on CBS. I do not know how that system came about of the logic behind it, but there ya go.

Just don’t ask me to explain how they come up with Passing Efficiency stats!

Yer pal,

There are 10 AM games on the West Coast every single Sunday. If you live in L.A., where there is no local team, there are always three games. Either FOX or CBS gets the doubleheader. The first games start at 10, the next at 1 (now 1:15).
In unusual situations, the non-doubleheader network will pick the late game to show as its single game, but only if they expect really big ratings from it.

And if you live in Hawaii, NFL games kickoff at 7 or 8 am. Sports bars there feature multiple choices in omelets instead of beers.
(Monday Night Football is delayed until 6:30 pm HST however.)

Bob, I think what Satan meant was that a west coast team playing at home will usually not be starting at 10 am.

That is what I meant, thanks funneefarmer!

Yer pal,