Sunday, October 9, 2011
NFL keeps word on close games in L.A.
By Arash Markazi
The NFL kept its word and Los Angeles got to see the ending of perhaps the most emotional game so far this season.
As ESPNLosAngeles.com reported last month, the NFL decided to rethink its television rules and allowed Los Angeles to see the conclusion of the Oakland Raiders-Houston Texans game instead of switching to the start of the San Diego Chargers-Denver Broncos game.
Although Los Angeles is the secondary market for the Chargers and obligated by league rules to carry all Chargers road games in their entirety, KCBS 2 in Los Angeles stuck with the ending of the Raiders-Texans game, which came down to the final play when Raiders safety Michael Huff intercepted Texans quarterback Matt Schaub’s pass in the end zone with no time remaining to clinch a 25-20 win for Oakland.
The game was dedicated to Raiders owner Al Davis, who died Saturday at the age of 82. There was a moment of silence for Davis before the game and Raiders players and coaches wore a black Raiders patch with “AL” written in silver in the middle to honor Davis.
With 3:43 remaining in the Raiders-Texans game, Oakland held a 25-17 lead with Houston driving as the Chargers’ game against the Broncos kicked off. At that time a scrawl came on the screen that read, “We will be going to the Chargers/Broncos game immediately following the conclusion of the Raiders/Texans game.”
It was the first time the league decided to tweak what had been a non-negotiable rule regarding primary and secondary television markets for over 35 years. Los Angeles is the secondary market for the Chargers and league rules require "all secondary markets must carry in their entirety all road games of their local team."
The Chargers are deemed Los Angeles' "local team" and therefore a "secondary market" because "its affiliates' TV signals reach within 75 miles of the Chargers stadium," NFL spokesperson Dan Masonson said.
The NFL decided to change its television rules in Los Angeles after it forced KCBS 2 to leave the final 27 seconds of the Sept. 18 Raiders-Buffalo Bills game to show three minutes' worth of commercials and the opening introductions of the Chargers-New England Patriots game.
At the time of the cutaway, the Raiders were holding a 35-31 lead but the Bills drove down and scored the game-winning touchdown with 14 seconds left on a fourth down pass, leaving Raiders fans in Los Angeles furious, not just because of the outcome but because of their inability to watch it live.
The league will now monitor the early game and see if the result is still in question before deciding to leave it for the late game.