NFL broadcast regulations prohibit you from reading the rest of this post

I have a bone to pick with the NFL. I’m a pretty big football fan, other than the NFL’s continual pimping of the Dallas Cowboys. I tune in most Sundays to catch games, but I have a problem with the NFL’s broadcast regulations. Now, I’m not familiar with the league’s TV contracts with the networks or anything of the like, so this is going to read more like a rant than an actual ways to fix things.

But Sunday I was casually watching the Tennessee Titans play the Pittsburgh Steelers on CBS because I am subjected to watch the Titans every week due to where I live (more on that in a minute).  After the game was over the coverage went to the end of a close game between the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs, a game that has serious playoff implications.

The coverage started with the review of a caused fumble and before the action could even restart, CBS studio host James Brown came on the screen and said “Due to NFL rules we must leave the coverage of this game.” Or something to that effect. Either way, I didn’t get to see the end of that game even though there was only 1:45 left in the game when we tuned in.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the NFL would consider it against the rules for the networks to continue broadcasting the end of this game and instead send us to the excruciating studio show that CBS provides. FOX had the doubleheader for the day, so it’s not like CBS had to get to another game.  There’s a problem when we can’t finish watching a game that will have an effect on the playoffs and someone needs to fix it.

But this was only the latest problem I’ve had with the NFL when it comes to their TV broadcasts.

Last season I was watching the Minnesota Vikings play the San Diego Chargers on CBS. I was really only watching the game because I had Ladanian Tomlinson on my fantasy team, but the game turned into something really exciting.  As the game went on, Vikings rookie running back Adrian Peterson kept running the ball.  And he kept gaining yards. At an incredible pace.

As the 4th quarter started, Peterson had around 200 rushing yards. The way he was running the ball that day, there was a chance that he could break the record for most rushing yards in a single game, which stood at 295 yards. About mid-way through the 4th quarter, Peterson scored another touchdown and the outcome of the game was decided. But there was still the matter of the record.

Peterson kept gaining yards and positioned himself within range to make a run (please excuse the pun) at the record. Then some CBS studio announcer broke in and said that due to NFL rules they need to switch to the start of the next game between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots.

I understand that the Patriots / Colts game was a big game, this was at the height of the rivalry between the two teams, but is the first quarter of this game really more important than a rookie taking a shot at one of the most popular records in the NFL? In my opinion, no.

I didn't get to watch Adrian Peterson get to embarass the Chargers defense for an NFL-record 296 rushing yards. Thanks NFL!

I didn't get to watch Adrian Peterson get to embarrass the Chargers defense for an NFL-record 296 rushing yards. Thanks NFL!

You know what I remember about that Colts / Patriots game today? I remember missing one of the best rookies of my lifetime break an incredible record because of the first quarter or a semi-meaningless regular season game, and grilling sausage wraps on the back porch with my roommate. That’s it. I’ll say it again, somebody needs to fix this.

But the NFL broadcast rule that pisses me off week after week is the rule that designates certain areas to certain teams. This rule makes certain teams’ broadcasts always shown in certain areas. Now I can see this rule making sense in cities that have teams, like always showing Steelers games in Pittsburgh or Packers games in Green Bay. But I live in Austin, Texas. There’s no home team here other than the Texas Longhorns, and that’s the problem.

A few years ago, quarterback Vince Young led the Texas Longhorns to an undefeated record, a win over the USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl and a BCS National Championship. He’s as close as you can come to royalty here in Austin. Then he was drafted third overall in the NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans and led the Titans to an 8-3 record in their last 11 games.

Things looked good heading into his second season, he was the cover athlete for that year’s edition of Madden, and Austin was designated a Titans area. Austin would have the honor of watching local hero Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans’ every game. That season, the Titans finished 10-7 and made the playoffs, but VY threw for just 9 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Then this season, Vince Young threw two interceptions and sprained his knee in the first game of the season. One weird suicide concern and Titans 12-2 reord later, and Kerry Collins been the starting quarterback and VY hasn’t been on the field since.

Despite all that, Austin is still a Titans zone and I have to compete with that in my quest to watch my Houston Texans play. So if the Texans play at the same time as the Titans, I get the Titans. Or, like was the case on Sunday, if FOX gets the doubleheader and CBS only gets one game, I get the Titans game at noon instead of the Texans at 3:15. I’ll say it a third time, somebody needs to fix this.

I like the NFL, maybe not as much as I used to, but I still like it. But the NFL definitely has problems with its broadcast regulations. If I’m stuck watching a team that’s nowhere near where I live, can’t see records be broken and miss out on the end of important games, there’s definitely a problem. Somebody needs to fix this.

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