Sunday Night Playoff Football

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USA Today – The NFL has moved the Steelers-Chiefs divisional playoff game from Sunday afternoon to Sunday night as an ice storm approaches Kansas City, Mo.

“Due to public safety concerns in light of the forecasted storm this weekend in the Kansas City area, Sunday’s Steelers-Chiefs Divisional Playoff game on NBC has been moved to 8:20 p.m. ET,” read a statement sent by the league Friday afternoon.

I’m 100% in favor of public safety. If you can take 80,000 people off the road during an ice storm, you gotta do it. But the NFL didn’t rake in $13 billion in revenue last season solely out of concern for public safety. Call me cynical, but this move works out pretty well for all parties involved.

The NFL looks like the good guy, keeping people off the roads during an ice storm. Moving this game back and out of the inclement weather also lowers the likelihood of another clunker of a game. No game this postseason has been closer than two scores, and the league could really use a couple of good games today. Two really good games today would help steer the discussion away from why the playoffs have been disappointing thus far.

The game the NFL is moving also just happens to be scheduled on NBC, its Sunday night rights holder. Could this be a trial balloon for Sunday Night Playoff Football? Two extra editions of the highest rated show on television each year would surely mean a nice bump for the NFL in the next television contract, and a nice January ratings bump for NBC.

Meanwhile, NBC can save its Dateline special for another night. [Tough call, I know.] This game would have drawn fine ratings at 1 PM, but there’s no doubt it will draw even better ratings at 8:20 PM on the Sunday night of a holiday weekend.

It also works out pretty well for the Patriots. Their opponent in the AFC Championship game won’t be finalized until about midnight. That gives the Patriots 24 hours more than their opponent to rest and prepare. Tom Brady teams are 5-2 in the AFC Championship game after a Saturday night win in the Divisional Round, but those two losses both came in Denver. It’s hard not to like their chances again next Sunday at home with an extra day of rest.

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