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October 22, 2014

Did the flex schedule boomerang on the NBC football game?

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 7th 2009 4:15PM
tom_brady_nflAbout 18 million or so folks tuned in to NBC's Sunday Night Football Game last night, the Minnesota Vikings versus the Arizona Cardinals. That's a really good number, but it wasn't the boffo bonanza NBC had in mind when they used the NFL flex schedule option to choose Bret Favre over Tom Brady.

When I wrote about the flex schedule last week, a lot of reader comments said that NBC decision made perfect sense because the Vikings-Card game would be a bigger draw than the Patriots-Dolphins.

Well, guess what happened? The Favre game turned out to be a bust. The Cardinals, led by Kurt Warner, shredded the Vikings and won handily 30-17. It wasn't close and the ratings diminished from the second half on.

On the other hand, the Brady game was terrific -- especially if you were rooting for the Dolphins as I was. But the game was competitive all the way through, Brady threw for over 300 yards and three long TD bombs, and the Fins kicked a winning field goal with time left on the clock. Brady had the ball and could have moved his team in for a score with a minute to play, but he was rushed in the pocket and threw and interception instead. Believe me when I tell you that nobody turned off that game before the very end.

The point is that NBC might have thought they were doing the right thing with the flex schedule, but in retrospect, if they had held the cards dealt to them, they could have done better.

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