Why Packers-Rams game was on CBS

Stu Courtney
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Green Bay Packers' Damarious Randall (23) and Green Bay Packers' Casey Hayward (29) tackle St. Louis Rams' Benny Cunningham (36).

The Green Bay Packers host the St. Louis Rams Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

Curious why the Packers-Rams game Sunday was broadcast on CBS, even though it involved two NFC teams?

It’s because of a “cross-flex” scheduling policy adopted by the NFL before the 2014 season.

In the past, all non-prime-time games involving two NFC teams aired on Fox and those involving two AFC teams aired on CBS, as per each network’s deal with those conferences. And games involving a team from each conference always were carried by the network of the visiting team. The goal of the new policy, which allows for exceptions to those practices, was to provide better balance and distribution between the two networks during weeks in which one network had more games — or more appealing games — than the other.

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In this case, there were four other games slated for noon starts on Fox, including a tantalizing Seattle at Cincinnati matchup. There were only three noon games set for CBS, none of which were particularly attractive (Cleveland at Baltimore, Jacksonville at Tampa Bay and Buffalo at Tennessee). Another game that ordinarily would have been on CBS — Indianapolis at Houston — instead was played Thursday night on the NFL Network. So flexing the Packers-Rams game to CBS helped provide balance.

The rule also enables local network affiliates to get additional bites of their team’s apple. In the case of the Packers this season, only one other Sunday game — this Sunday’s game against the Chargers — is set to air on CBS. Another Packers game that could have belonged to CBS — Week 3 vs. Kansas City — instead was played in prime time and televised by ESPN. CBS will get to show the Packers' Thursday night game at Detroit on Dec. 3.

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