Where's my freaking football game, FOX?

I got all excited to watch the Falcons’ game against the Panthers on FOX today. It’s Atlanta’s last game of the season, since they’re not going to the playoffs, and it’s also fairly rare for one of their games to be broadcast here in Memphis, so I was really looking forward to this.

I watched the first half. It didn’t go well, and at halftime we were losing 24-3. Still, I’m not the kind of fan who leaves in the fourth quarter to beat the traffic; if the Falcons are playing, I’m watching.

After halftime, I uncurled form the fetal position where I’d been sucking my thumb and whimpering, and started to watch again.

Hey, wait a second, thinks I, since when is Jon Gruden coaching the Falcons? And how did the score become 17-10?

It was the Saints/Bucs game. They switched games at halftime. I do not understand this; doesn’t the “Heidi Game” rule apply? I.e., if they start airing a game, aren’t they supposed to air the whole thing, even if it’s just the QB taking a knee?

I called my local FOX affiliate. There was only one person in the building, a brain-dead asshole who had no idea what was going on. “OK, who does know?” I asked.

“No one,” she said. (I swear this happened.)

OK. I go to www.foxsports.com. The site confirms that the Falcons/Panthers game is supposed to be on in Memphis. I look around the site and eventually find a phone number. I call it, poke around a labyrinth of phone menus, and can’t reach any live humans to talk to. Finally, feeling extremely pissed off, I figure I’ll settle for leaving a sternly-worded voicemail, having no alternative.

“Attendant not available,” the machine says. I can’t even leave a message.

I sent them an e-mail. Seriously, this has got to be the least-satisfying way to resolve a customer-service issue. I don’t want to send a freaking e-mail! I want to get all testy and self-righteous with whoever made this decision! I want to make threats about withholding my business! I want to make veiled references to “a lot of people” hearing about this, and then put it all on my blog!

What a shitty way to end the regular season, sitting here not watching my team lose. According to the score up at the top of the Saints/Bucs game, it’s now 34-3. Fuck.

Must have been a national decision, we had the Panthers-Falcons game here in Oklahoma City too, and it has been switched to the Saints-Bucs game.

They’ve been doing this for a while, more or less. Switching from a blow out to an interesting game. All of the networks hosting NFL games do it to some extent, for quite a few years iirc.

Except on Monday nights.

Yep… they do this all the time. On CBS, the KC vs Cincy game was a blowout too, so they’ve switched to Miami vs NE. Only die-hard fans of a team want to watch a blow out.

Yeah, I know. But I’m one of those die-hard fans, and I rarely get to see my team play anyway because I don’t live in Atlanta anymore.

Final score: 44-11. There’s always next year.

In which they took us away from superb performances by Trent Green and Larry Johnson in order to show us N.E.'s second teamers. Whoopee.

Of course, Flutie got a drop kick in what is probably his last game.

It wasn’t really that close.

First time in 64 years. I hate I didn’t get to see it.

That’s gotta hit the Internet eventually. Either the NFL/CBS/ESPN will have the footage or someone will have taped it and will get it onto the Internet in a blog or something. I can’t believe I missed it either, since I was getting that game but had it on the Saints-Bucs game instead.

It’s not the same. You witness history or you read about it.

Know what I mean?

Rub it in. Perhaps a staggering amount of alcohol will soothe my aching heart…

That’s odd, here in San Francisco, unless I blacked out or imagined it, the local Fox station stayed with the Panthers-Falcons game to the bitter end, or at least pretty close to the end.
I wasn’t paying too close of attention, as I had the Packers-Seahawks game streaming on my computer and the Fox game on mute.

I know nothing about television laws, but I think the “Heidi Game” clause only states that you can’t pre-empt sports coverage with regular programming. For example, if a football game runs over 8pm on Sundays, Fox can’t interrupt the game with The Simpsons- they have to wait until after the game ends. I’m sure somebody more knowledged on this will correct me.

I remember once (in the mid 1990s) that the CBS affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi decided to show some special local news program on a Monday night, when some of my favorite shows like “The King of Queens”, “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Becker” were on. I was mad! :mad: I called the affiliate and asked them why in the hell are they taking such highly rated shows with their dreck. My impression is that the network has jurisdiction over affiliate broadcasting (at least in Primetime, but I guess not.)

To the OP, I am from Memphis originally. One of the two years that John Elway won the Super Bowl, they were showing the AFC championship game on WREG-TV 3 in Memphis. While the game was going on, there was a major thunderstorm in the city. Becuase of that, WREG was cutting into the game for the weatherman (Tim Simpson) announcing the path of the storm. People (I tried but it was busy) were calling the station demanding that the game be put back on, WREG comprimised and split screen the game and the Weatherman. Tim Simpson even got mad at the studio audience, more or less saying along the lines of **“I know there’s a football game on, but this is important folks!” **

Lastly, my parents LOVES the show “60 Minutes”. My father hated football and would get so pissed off if an NFL game went longer than 6 PM. He would go into hissy fits and spit and curse if a game was in overtime. I would like to add more, but what is there to tell?

Fuck football. I just wish they’d have switched to Futurama whenever it was supposed to have come on.

There’s no actual law involved, just the networks’ self-interest. NBC took such a raft of shit from viewers over the Heidi incident that no network wants to risk anything like it again.

They’re not required by anyone to stick with games until the bitter end, but they’re afraid of what will happen to their future ratings if they don’t.