With more and more college football conferences opting out of the 2020 season, the likelihood of Saturday nights being barren of college football is looking more and more realistic. What better of an opportunity for the NFL to fill that void, then to flex a few games each week to Saturdays?
I scratched my head when I dug up a few NFL schedules and noticed there were no games already scheduled on Saturdays. How odd. Then I dug deeper and ran across a CBSSportsline article. The NFL has not set any games in stone, nor has it set how many games. What is for sure is they can flex two games to Saturday and they may add a third during Week 15 and 16. None of this is set in stone and should remain fluid, but it could also open the door to adding two games each Saturday for the entire season except Week 17.
The NFL most likely would need to get an exemption to play on all Saturdays from the 1961 Sports Broadcasting Act.
After two attempts to sell the NFL’s broadcasting rights were declared illegal because of antitrust concerns, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle headed to the Hill to whip up support. In 1961, Congress passed the Sports Broadcasting Act, which exempted broadcasting rights by major sports leagues from antitrust decisions and cleared the way for the NFL to sell a broadcasting package to CBS, where all teams share the rights equally.
However, the law is more famous for helping to set the NFL broadcasting schedule. To protect fans of college and high school football, Congress also approved language that barred professional games on Fridays and Saturdays during the schools’ seasons. The NFL still stays away from those days outside of rare exceptions, like when Christmas falls on a Friday. The Act also led to the blackout policy, which lets the league block games from a home market broadcast area if they have not sold out.
If the NFL gets around the nearly 60-year-old law, which four games would Steelers fans want to see flexed to prime time on a particular Saturday night? Weeks 1, 12, 14, and 15 are already scheduled for prime time — why add more? Because I am a greedy Steelers fan and want to watch as many nationally televised games as possible.
Week 2 Denver Broncos
Broncos lead series 20-11-1
Having such a poor record against the Broncos really gets my blood boiling, especially living in the Denver market. It is not the overall poor record that should bug Steelers fans. Nor should it be the four losses in the past five games. Instead, it’s that first of the four losses that should get Steelers Nation mad and want revenge. It was that #@$# loss in overtime in January 2012. I would love to be trash talking my Broncos buddies during a prime time game in Pittsburgh like they did after the OT pass.
Unfortunately, coming off of a Week 1 game on Monday Night Football would probably squash this possibility. But one can hope.
Week 5 Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles lead series 48-28-3
Another poor overall record, but this time against in-state rivals. Going back to 1970, Pittsburgh has only won four of the 12 games and has lost four of the last six. Revenge would be on fans minds after the 34-3 shellacking during the last meeting.
Week 7 Baltimore Ravens
Steelers lead series 28-24-0
In most fans’ eyes, the Ravens are the biggest rivals the Steelers have. Like the other matchups being flexed to Saturday, the Steelers have had poor luck losing the last three of four to the Ravens. The week would be shorter but well worth it heading into the Week 8 bye.
Week 9 Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys lead series 17-15-0
I have disliked the Cowboys since I was a little kid when they were on CBS EVERY Sunday for years and years. OK, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but the tense rivalry still burns hot in many older fans of both organizations.
The current two game losing streak hurts, especially when you think of the 2016 Zeke Elliot run or the horrid Ben Roethlisberger interception in overtime in 2012.
Once again, moving this game would be unlikely as it is scheduled as a 4:25 PM Eastern kickoff. With it being a matchup which occurs every four years, I’m sure CBS will do everything in its power to protect this game unless they are the ones airing it at another time.
There are my four games I would like to see flexed to Saturday prime time this fall. BTSC would be on fire on a Saturday night with any of those games being aired nationally. Would these be your four or would there be different ones? Please share your thoughts in the revamped comment section.