Flex scheduling is coming to “Monday Night Football” in the 2023 season, which could be a challenge for Bills fans who routinely travel to road games.
Here is the plan:
• December Monday night games in Weeks 14, 15, 16 and 17 can be replaced by Sunday games, with the originally scheduled Monday night game moving back to Sunday.
• The league will announce flex games usually 13 days in advance, similar to how the league has handled time changes from Sunday afternoon to Sunday nights.
• Three Monday night doubleheaders are scheduled with ESPN having one game at 7 p.m. and ABC having the other at around 8:30 p.m. This was done in Week 2 last season as the Bills hosted the Tennessee Titans at 7:15 and the Philadelphia Eagles hosted the Minnesota Vikings at 8:30 p.m. This became a bit chaotic for viewers because Buffalo was the home market, meaning the Bills game needed to be shown on over-the-air TV.
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The big winners are TV viewers, who didn’t see a Monday night game in December last season that had two playoff teams.
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The big losers are fans who will have their plans disrupted, especially those flying to the game to see their team play who would need to change flights and accommodations. That could be particularly true for Bills fans because the team is a significant ratings draw and could be an attractive option to be flexed.
Consider the Bills also have road games at Kansas City, at Cincinnati, at Philadelphia and at the Chargers beyond the AFC East opponents.
Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked Wednesday about the possibility of flexing games for “Thursday Night Football” on Amazon Prime.
“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” Goodell said.
Moving a game from Sunday to Thursday on less than two weeks’ notice is more of a logistical challenge with players and coaches having their prep time cut.
Another quick television note for next season, especially given the love-hate relationship that Bills fans seem to have with Tony Romo: More AFC games will be on Fox and more NFC games will be on CBS, despite CBS being the AFC rights-holder and Fox being the NFC rights-holder.
Which network carries which game will no longer be determined by the road team and the rules about how many times a team can be taken from its conference’s “home” network no longer exists.
“We don’t have the restrictions that we’ve had in terms of crossflex and number of times each team can be taken away from CBS and Fox. Those rules are gone, so every game’s a jump ball. Every game’s a free agent,” Mike North, NFL vice president of broadcast planning, said earlier this year on the “Ari Meirov Show,” according to the Miami Herald.
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