Yesterday, I suggested that a form of flex scheduling might help the NBA’s flagging regular season TV ratings. Two readers sent e-mails asking for more details on the NFL’s flex scheduling. I don’t know all of the details, but according to reports, here are some of the salient features: [As a reference, the original NFL schedule for last week had the Eagles/Seahawks game as the Sunday Night Game but NBC and the NFL “flexed” the Niners/Packers game into that slot and put the Eagles/Seahawks game back to a 1:00 PM EST start.]
- The Flexing Option only applies to games originally scheduled for Sundays. Any game scheduled for a Monday, Thursday or Saturday will not be moved.
- The Flexing Option does not apply for the entire season. One report says it is allowable after Week 5; another report says it is allowable from Week 8 forward.
- Once a decision to flex a game has been made, the announcement of the change will be made 12 days before change in game time to alert fans – – and to a lesser extent the players and coaches of the 4 teams involved.
- In Week 17, the flex decision can be made with only 6 days’ notice because the idea is to have that Sunday Night game have some sort of playoff impact.
- It is the NFL that makes the final flex decisions in consultation with all the networks that have TV rights for Sunday games.
Obviously, this sort of thing had to be negotiated into all the TV rights deals done between the NFL and the various networks but that would not seem to be the same hurdle for the NBA should it choose to make such a change. The two networks doing regular season games do not overlap so the only decision would seem to be which telecast to put on the “national feed”. If there is a need to change a starting time, that decision would have to be made in advance for the fans with tickets, but I cannot believe that is an impossibility.
I think I’ve expended enough time, energy and keyboarding on that subject because the NBA is obviously not going to implement it. If they were, it would be in progress already since it is so simple…
Switching subjects, the upcoming NFL free agent season could be interesting this year given the potential availability of QBs with plenty of experience – – and plenty of question marks. In alphabetical order, here are the ones I can think of:
- Terry Bridgewater: The Saints needed him to start 5 games this year; the Saints won all 5 of those games. Last year, he signed a 1-year deal with the Saints for $7.2M to be Drew Brees’ backup. This year, he will be a highly desirable commodity at age 27.
- Andy Dalton: The Bengals benched him to look at Ryan Finley as a prospect – and seem to have decided that Finley is not the answer so Dalton will be back under center. Dalton will make $17.7M next year if the Bengals keep him; I think they will – and they should. Andy Dalton is 32 years old; if he is indeed a free agent, he should attract interest from several teams.
- Joe Flacco: Last year, the Ravens chose to move on from him and go with Lamar Jackson; the Broncos hoped he would be the franchise QB they have not had for quite a while. Technically, Flacco will still be under contract with the Broncos but with his salary in the $20M – $24M range, the likelihood is he will be released and will not get any offers of that magnitude. Joe Flacco is 34 years old…
- Marcus Mariota: He has certainly underperformed the expectations for a guy taken #2 overall in the draft; he has also had the injury bug in his career. However, he is only 26 years old. He won’t get any $25M per year offers in free agency, but he will get offers.
- Cam Newton: There are lots of reports that the Panthers are ready to move on from Newton and that injuries have caught up with him. His current deal is 5-years for $103.5M and next year’s installment would be $19.1M. If he gets a positive report from the medics about his foot injury and his surgically repaired shoulder, I think the Panthers will keep him around. Newton has a lot of mileage on the tires, but he is only 30 years old.
- Jameis Winston: He was the guy taken #1 overall in the same year Marcus Mariota was taken #2. Winston has been brilliant at times; he has also been frustrating. In his 4 ¾ years in the NFL, he leads the league in INTs with 78; that averages out to 16.5 INTs per season. This is the least predictable situation of the ones listed here. Personally, if I were the Bucs and had a shot at one of the good QBs in the Draft, I would move on – – but they will need to make their decision well in advance of the Draft… Stay tuned to this one.
The college basketball season is underway and there have already been three shocking results involving college basketball bluebloods losing on their home court.
- Kentucky lost at home to Evansville
- Last night, Duke lost at home to Stephen F. Austin – – in OT
- Earlier this year, UCLA lost at home to Hofstra by 10 points.
If the basketball gods are indeed focused on shaming blueblood programs on their home court this season, I would keep an eye on this game:
- Wofford at UNC on Sunday 15 December…
Finally, speaking of college basketball, here is an observation from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:
“In passing: As college basketball season warms up, once again topping the list of most-often-used redundancies is the phrase ‘young freshman.’ Aren’t they all?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………