Warm Up Those Remotes: NFL Releases 2014 Schedule
If you're like me, you can't wait for the 2014 NFL season to start.
And the sooner big games show up on the schedule, the better.
The NFL certainly didn't let us down in that regard, especially on opening weekend.
Check out some of these pairings:
- Packers at Seahawks ... Remember the "bad call" game when the Pack lost on a Hail Mary that shouldn't have counted? The best news from that one was the NFL had no choice but to settle with the locked-out referees' union.
- Saints vs Falcons ... They hate each other. Enough said.
- Colts at Broncos ... Manning vs Luck in Denver? Why wasn't this the Monday night game?
- 49ers at Cowboys ... Last time the Cowboys played the 49ers, they actually won. Going to be interesting to see what the 'Boys may have store at JerryWorld.
- Bengals at Ravens ... Two more teams that despise each other. Baltimore was aced out of the playoffs by Cincinnati, so you know there will be even more of an edge to this one.
There will be changes in the way top contests are featured in the new season:
- ESPN will carry the Wild Card games for the first time, meaning they're on a cable network for the first time;
- The NFL poobahs will flex the schedule all season long to put the most relevant game each week on NBC's Sunday Night Football; and
- The NFL will expand its flex powers to shift key games to whichever broadcast network it believes will deliver the largest viewership.
The last of these changes may mean little more than a press of the remote to fans, but it's a biggie to the broadcasters. It's always been that one network carries the AFC (currenly, that's CBS) while another shows the NFC (Fox).
And how important are the Wild Card games to ESPN? Their biggest audience ever was the Auburn v Oregon national championship game. It drew 27.3million viewers. Last season, the lowest-rated NFL broadcast on CBS -- Indianapolis at Kansas City -- was seen by 27.6million viewers.
What'll this do to cable subscription rates in a year or two?