Looking closer at Pats-Broncos flex

December, 7, 2011
12/07/11
6:45
AM ET
In recent years, we've seen less of the "sports media" reporter in local newspapers. Gone are the days when sports media columns would appear multiple times per week.

This is the type of week where that "sports media" expertise comes in handy because there is a fascinating battle going on behind the scenes regarding which network airs the Patriots-Broncos game on Dec. 18. The trickle-down effect is that the time the game is played could change, which in turn, alters travel arrangements for teams, fans and network personnel.

If it's on CBS, it stays at 4:15 p.m. ET on Sunday.

If it's on NBC, it switches to the prime-time spot at 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday.

A decision will be announced this morning. There is a lot of money at stake -- a Tim Tebow vs. Tom Brady duel is sure to produce big ratings -- and Boston Globe media reporter Chad Finn has a nice breakdown on the situation in Wednesday's editions (link here).

Here are some key points from Finn:

1. A decision would normally be made by this point, which reflects a tug-of-war going on between CBS and NBC.

2. The NFL, not the networks, ultimately makes the decision.

3. CBS can protect up to one game per week from being flexed but those decisions must be made weeks in advance. Earlier, CBS protected Eagles-Jets when that game looked more appealing.

4. CBS might be looking for considerations after being flexed out of last Sunday's Broncos-Vikings game (it was moved to Fox when Fox lost Lions-Saints to NBC).

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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