The New England Patriots’ shot at history Saturday night will be available for every household in the country with a television after months of wrangling.
The game against the New York Giants, in which the Patriots could become the first NFL team to go 16-0 in the regular season, was originally scheduled to be shown only on the NFL Network, which is available in fewer than 40 percent of the nation’s homes with TVs.
But the league announced Wednesday that the NFL Network feed will be simulcast on NBC and CBS. It’s a major concession by league officials, who repeatedly said they would not show the game anywhere but the NFL Network. The NFL had faced mounting pressure from politicians in recent weeks to make the game available to more viewers.
This will be the first three-network simulcast in NFL history and the first simulcast of any kind of an NFL game since the first Super Bowl in 1967, when CBS and NBC both televised the first meeting of the champions of the newly merged National Football League and American Football League.
So much for CBS’ planned network premiere of the Cloonster’s “Good Night & Good Luck”, not to mention NBC’s showing of an “Law & Order : SVU” repeat with an MMA storyline. Maybe Mushick can write a column about how some of us really don’t give a hoot whether Eli plays one quarter or three on Saturday? Even if LT, Harry Carson and Carl Banks started on Saturday, New England would still run the table.
Still, this provides further ammo for those who’d argue football has long since replaced baseball as American’s national pastime. With the possible exception of the public stoning of Simon Cowell, what other non-news event is of great enough interest to justify a simulcast by two competing networks?