Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images
Once again, the Steelers are playing a marquee game which networks will not want to surrender.
It’s a new week, but a common theme yet again in regards to when the Pittsburgh Steelers are set to play the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8 is arising across the fan base. Once again, some fans are hoping for a prime time game rather than the 1 PM kickoff originally slated by the NFL. If you are one of those fans, look to be disappointed yet again this week.
When it comes to the NFL’s flex scheduling, 2020 has already thrown a wrench into the regular procedures. While games are following the NFL schedule as much as possible, when issues arise due to COVID-19 games will be moved in order to make sure they are played. In Week 7, the originally scheduled Sunday night football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Las Vegas Raiders was in danger of not being able to be held on Sunday. Since it was a problem, the NFL made a change on Thursday to schedule the game at 4:05 PM and flex the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals game to the prime time spot in order to guarantee a game on NBC.
First of all, it appears the only reason the change was made was because of the uncertainty of the Bucs-Raiders game. If not, the NFL could not have followed the regular flex scheduling procedure of notifying teams within 12 days of the game being moved. The only regular (meaning non-Covid) exception comes in Week 17 to get a matchup with playoff implications.
As a quick reminder of flex scheduling, it actually begins for the NFL in Week 5. In weeks 5 through 10, the NFL is permitted to flex a game to prime time on Sunday on two occasions. From Week 11 on, the NFL can flex a game every week if it so chooses. But these announcements generally happen about two weeks ahead of time. Since the Steelers and Ravens are only a week away from their matchup, the likelihood of the game being moved is extremely rare.
So what would it take for the Steelers and Ravens game to be moved to prime time on Sunday? First, there would probably have to be a Covid issue going on with either the Philadelphia Eagles or the Dallas Cowboys who are slated to play in that spot. To wish this issue on any team just doesn’t seem right, but let’s say it does happen for some reason.
The next step which would have to happen would be CBS would have to be willing to give up the rights to the game. As it says directly on the NFL.com:
The NFL will decide (after consultation with CBS, FOX, NBC) and announce as early as possible the game being played at 8:15 p.m. ET. The announcement will come no later than 12 days prior to the game. The NFL may also announce games moving to 4:05 p.m. ET and 4:25 p.m. ET.
In other words, CBS is allowed to protect a game which they would still hold the rights. Is there any other game CBS would rather have other than the Steelers and Ravens? Here are the options of games scheduled to appear on CBS in Week 8:
NE @ BUF
PIT @ BAL
NYJ @ KC
TN @ CIN
IND @ DET
LAC @ DEN
Obviously, Pittsburgh and Baltimore is the hands-down choice for CBS to hold onto for dear life.
The only other options for moving the game time fans may consider is if the time would be switched to the late afternoon kick off at 4:25 PM. Unfortunately, this is highly unlikely as well as CBS is not scheduled to have a doubleheader for Week 8 as it will be covered by FOX.
So once again, look for the Steelers to be facing the Baltimore Ravens with a 1 PM kickoff this coming Sunday. Some may love it, while others might hate it. Personally, I like the 1 PM kickoff‘s. More importantly, I like Steelers’ victories. So when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter when the game kicks off more than the Steelers being ready to go to battle against their AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens.
Stay tuned to BTSC for all the continued build up for the Steelers next big matchup of the 2020 season against the Baltimore Ravens which is STILL at 1 PM next Sunday.