NFL Coverage F.A.Q.

NFL Coverage FAQ

What can WISH-TV do? 

Rules are crafted between the NFL and networks which carry the games (CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN and NFL Network). Local affiliates (i.e. WISH-TV) have little control in the process. Because we are the home market station for the Indianapolis Colts, we are guaranteed to show all of the Colts games on CBS. This year we have ten of those (so far). If the Colts are the late game and the early game is running long, CBS will cut away from it to show all of the Colts game even if that means viewers miss a great ending. To help alleviate that problem, the NFL moved the kickoff time of the primary nationally-televised doubleheader game from 4:15 to 4:25pm.

There are games airing on CBS. Why isn’t WISH-TV airing a game?

We air every NFL game we can. If we have a post-game show, it’s not replacing a game that’s available to us. Just because CBS has games in both the noon and 4:25pm slots does not mean we can air two games every week. The networks (generally) alternate doubleheader weeks. Sometimes we can air two, sometimes we can’t. CBS has at least one late game each week because of the AFC South, but that doesn’t mean we can always air them. It’s not our choice – it’s league and network rules. The on-air promos don’t necessarily translate to games on air for WISH-TV. Even if it is a CBS doubleheader Sunday, WISH-TV can’t air a game at the same time as a Colts home game which airs on another network. This year, we do not “lose” the ability to air any games because of this rule, but that could change once flexible scheduling starts.

How are the games selected?

CBS assigns us the other games, based on regional interest or national importance. This means we usually get the AFC Conference games. We can request a change, but the network doesn’t have to grant the request. WISH-TV will request Denver Broncos games that are available. For non-prime-time games between teams in different conferences, the network of the visiting team gets the rights.

Will I be able to watch the Colts?

Local fans are guaranteed to see all of the Colts games on local broadcast stations, even if they are on cable (ESPN or the NFL Network). The local stations have no control over the flexible scheduling. During the last seven weeks of the year, the NFL may decide to change games to NBC in its Sunday night time slot. Games may also move between the early and late doubleheader slots. Thursday and Monday night games do not change.

Why did coverage change to a different game before the ending of the original game?

CBS can designate a “flex” status for sporting events on certain stations. The flex designation is usually determined 6 to 12 days in advance and is based on anticipated viewership for any particular game. In the event the outcome of the flex game becomes obvious and there is at least an 18 point lead after the second half has started, CBS may elect to switch certain stations to another more competitive game. If this occurs, CBS does NOT switch stations back to the original game. Announcements to the viewers about this change are made by CBS.

Home teams in the home markets are treated differently. Like the flex status, CBS can designate a “constant” status for sporting events on certain stations. The constant designation means that CBS will NOT switch that market away for that specific game without returning to it because there is sufficient local interest due to a local team. For example: If the Colts are a flex game this weekend on CBS, then WISH will be a constant for that game. However, if the Broncos are a flex game, WISH most likely would NOT be a constant station for that game as there will be sufficient interest in the other teams also playing at the same time.

Given all of that, here is the tentative schedule for NFL games on CBS. Remember, the assignments for the non-Colts games can change based on how the year develops.

WEEK 1 – SUNDAY, SEPT. 7
New England @ Miami 1:00
Cincinnati @ Baltimore 1:00
Oakland @ N.Y. Jets 1:00
Cleveland @ Pittsburgh 1:00
Jacksonville @ Philadelphia 1:00
Tennessee @ Kansas City 1:00

WEEK 2 – SUNDAY, SEPT. 14 – CBS DBHDR
New England @ Minnesota 1:00
Atlanta @ Cincinnati 1:00
Jacksonville @ Washington 1:00
Miami @ Buffalo 1:00
N.Y. Jets @ Green Bay 4:25
Kansas City @ Denver 4:25
Houston @ Oakland 4:25

WEEK 3 – SUNDAY, SEPT. 21 – CBS DBHDR
Houston @ N.Y. Giants 1:00
Oakland @ New England 1:00
Baltimore @ Cleveland 1:00
Indianapolis @ Jacksonville 1:00
Tennessee @ Cincinnati 1:00
San Diego @ Buffalo 1:00
Denver @ Seattle 4:25
Kansas City @ Miami 4:25

WEEK 4 – SUNDAY, SEPT. 28
Carolina @ Baltimore 1:00
Buffalo @ Houston 1:00
Tennessee @ Indianapolis 1:00
Miami-Oakland (London) 1:00
Jacksonville @ San Diego 4:05
WEEK 5 – SUNDAY, OCT. 5 – CBS DBHDR
Houston @ Dallas 1:00
Baltimore @ Indianapolis 1:00
Pittsburgh @ Jacksonville 1:00
Cleveland @ Tennessee 1:00
Kansas City @ San Francisco 4:25
N.Y. Jets @ San Diego 4:25

WEEK 6 – SUNDAY, OCT. 12
Denver @ N.Y. Jets 1:00
New England @ Buffalo 1:00
Pittsburgh @ Cleveland 1:00
Jacksonville @ Tennessee 1:00
Baltimore @ Tampa Bay 1:00
San Diego @ Oakland 4:05

WEEK 7 – SUNDAY, OCT. 19
Miami @ Chicago 1:00
Cincinnati @ Indianapolis 1:00
Tennessee @ Washington 1:00
Cleveland @ Jacksonville 1:00
Kansas City @ San Diego 4:05

WEEK 8 – SUNDAY, OCT. 26 – CBS DBHDR
Baltimore @ Cincinnati 1:00
Buffalo @ N.Y. Jets 1:00
Miami @ Jacksonville 1:00
Houston @ Tennessee 1:00
Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh 4:25
Oakland @ Cleveland 4:25

WEEK 9 – SUNDAY, NOV. 2 – CBS DBHDR
San Diego @ Miami 1:00
N.Y. Jets @ Kansas City 1:00
Jacksonville @ Cincinnati 1:00
Denver @ New England 4:25
Oakland @ Seattle 4:25

WEEK 10 – SUNDAY, NOV. 9
Pittsburgh @ N.Y. Jets 1:00
Miami @ Detroit 1:00
Tennessee @ Baltimore 1:00
Kansas City @ Buffalo 1:00
Denver @ Oakland 4:05

WEEK 11 – SUNDAY, NOV. 16
Denver @ St. Louis 1:00
Cincinnati @ New Orleans 1:00
Houston @ Cleveland 1:00
Oakland @ San Diego 4:05

WEEK 12 – SUNDAY, NOV. 23 – CBS DBHDR
Tennessee @ Philadelphia 1:00
Cincinnati @ Houston 1:00
N.Y. Jets @ Buffalo 1:00
Jacksonville @ Indianapolis 1:00
Cleveland @ Atlanta 1:00
Washington @ San Francisco 4:25
Miami @ Denver 4:25

WEEK 13 – THURSDAY, NOV. 27 THANKSGIVING DAY
Chicago @ Detroit 12:30

WEEK 13 – SUNDAY, NOV. 30 – CBS DBHDR
San Diego @ Baltimore 1:00
Oakland @ St. Louis 1:00
Cincinnati @ Tampa Bay 1:00
Cleveland @ Buffalo 1:00
Tennessee @ Houston 1:00
New England @ Green Bay 4:25

WEEK 14 – SUNDAY, DEC. 7
Kansas City @ Arizona 4:05
Buffalo @ Denver 4:05

WEEK 15 – SUNDAY, DEC. 14
Miami @ New England 1:00
Pittsburgh @ Atlanta 1:00
Oakland @ Kansas City 1:00
Cincinnati @ Cleveland 1:00
Jacksonville @ Baltimore 1:00
Houston @ Indianapolis 1:00

WEEK 16 – SUNDAY, DEC. 21 – CBS DBHDR
New England @ N.Y. Jets 1:00
Kansas City @ Pittsburgh 1:00
Baltimore @ Houston 1:00
Cleveland @ Carolina 1:00
Indianapolis @ Dallas 4:25
Buffalo @ Oakland 4:25

WEEK 17 – SUNDAY, DEC. 28 – CBS DBHDR
N.Y. Jets @ Miami 1:00
Buffalo @ New England 1:00
Cleveland @ Baltimore 1:00
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh 1:00
Jacksonville @ Houston 1:00
Indianapolis @ Tennessee 1:00
San Diego @ Kansas City 1:00
Oakland @ Denver 4:25