Flexible Scheduling Expanded
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The NFL announced today its 17-week, 256-game regular-season schedule for 2014, which kicks off on Thursday night, September 4 in Seattle, includes expanded flexible scheduling, and concludes on Sunday, December 28 with 16 division games.
The season begins with the NFL’s annual primetime kickoff game. The opener on September 4 on NBC (8:30 PM ET) will spotlight the defending-champion Seattle Seahawks hosting the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field.
Week 1 is a FOX national weekend with the key doubleheader game on Sunday, September 7 (4:25 PM ET) featuring the San Francisco 49ers at the Dallas Cowboys.
NBC’s Sunday Night Football gets underway on September 7 when the Denver Broncos host the Indianapolis Colts (8:30 PM ET).
Kickoff Weekend concludes on Monday, September 8 with an ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader. The Detroit Lions will host the New York Giants (7:10 PM ET) in the first game followed by the San Diego Chargers at the Arizona Cardinals (10:20 PM ET).
ESPN will televise one game each Monday night in Weeks 2-16. There will be no Monday night game on the final regular-season weekend (Week 17) to provide more flexibility for the scheduling of the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs.
For the first time, flexible scheduling may be applied in Weeks 5-10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time.
Also, for the first time, a select number of games are being “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences.
“Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17 as it has been in recent years. In Weeks 11-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 28. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into primetime.
The regular season will conclude with Week 17 on Sunday, December 28. For the fifth consecutive year, all 16 games scheduled for Week 17 are division contests, enhancing the potential for more games with playoff ramifications. Over the final three weeks there are 33 division games, the most in NFL history.
The season finishes in Arizona with the Pro Bowl on Sunday, January 25 (ESPN) and Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, February 1 (NBC). Both games will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium.
For the complete 2014 NFL Schedule, click here