NFL Partners With CBS, NBC To Simulcast Key Game
The game was originally intended to air just on the NFL's own thinly distributed NFL Network--which only gets into some 35 million U.S. TV homes, about a third of all U.S. TV households. Many politicians in both New York and New England areas were calling on both the NFL and the cable companies to work out an agreement to let the game be aired broadly.
The three-way simulcast of the game resulted after the league failed in its negotiations with the cable operators. Cable operators have waged a long-time battle with the NFL, with the cable operators seeking to run the network on an extended basic package of programming in which the consumer pays an additional monthly fee. The NFL has been pushing for its network to be aired on cable operators' basic programming tiers.
Both CBS and NBC will air the NFL Network feed on Saturday night, as well as being aired on local stations, WCVB Boston, WMUR Manchester, N.H., and WWOR New York. The telecast starts at 8 p.m. E.S.T.
The NFL says this is the first time that three networks have aired a football game at the same time. In 1967, for the first Super Bowl, both CBS and NBC both televised the game. At the time, CBS was the broadcast partner of the NFL, and NBC was the partner of the American Football League.
The Patriots-Giants game is important, as the 15-0 Patriots will seek to become the first NFL team to complete an unbeaten regular season since the Miami Dolphins went 14-0 in 1972. The Dolphins went on to win three more games, including Super Bowl VII, to finish 17-0 for the only perfect season in NFL history. The NFL regular season was expanded to 16 games in 1978.