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FOX, CBS pushing back afternoon NFL start times

Scott Levin's picture

If you've ever been taken away from the conclusion of a thrilling NFL game to join the start of a local afternoon telecast, you're in luck.

The NFL announced Thursday that starting in the upcoming season, afternoon kickoff times would be pushed from 4:15 p.m. EST to 4:25 p.m. EST. The 10-minute change will actually have a significant impact on the way fans watch football.

Typically, early NFL games, which kickoff at 1 p.m. EST, run for about three hours. However, in some instances, these games run long or require overtime, occasionally stretching past the 4:15 p.m. EST kickoff of the second wave of games. Unfortunately for fans of the NFL, CBS and FOX are contractually obligated to leave the early games if the market has a late local game.

Hardcore NFL fans have no doubt been affected by this. After watching more than three hours of a hotly-contested game, the network takes some away, right as the game is reaching its conclusion. To add to the anguish, these networks typically switch to a set of commercials before actually taking viewers to the late game.

The old setup had ramifications last season, when Tim Tebow traveled to Minnesota and helped his Denver Broncos down the Vikings on a last second field goal. But rather than watch the end of the nail-biter, fans who had a local afternoon game were taken away from the final seconds and missed the conclusion.

The added 10-minute window will make these instances less frequent. It is also not too large of a time frame that the late games will run into the Sunday night broadcast on NBC. NBC said it will not change its current setup, which calls for kickoff around 8 p.m. EST after a one-hour pregame show.

According to the Associated Press, 44 morning games ran past the accepted cutoff time from 2009 to 2011. Only 15 of these games ran past 4:25 p.m. EST.

Those still unsatisfied likely have no choice but to buy DirecTV's Sunday NFL Ticket. The satellite package broadcasts every NFL game in its entirety, ensuring fans in any market can see their favorite team, wherever they play. For the upcoming season, Sunday NFL Ticket will be available for $199.95, and new customers to DirecTV receive one season free.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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