FIRST FLEX SCHEDULING GAME ANNOUNCED; GIANTS-BEARS, TWO OF NFL'S STORIED FRANCHISES, MOVES TO SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL NOVEMBER 12
NEW YORK � October 24, 2006 � The National Football League today announced the inaugural flex scheduling game. The Chicago Bears at the New York Giants game on November 12, previously listed for 1 p.m. ET, was selected for Sunday Night, an 8:15 p.m. ET kickoff on NBC.
"We are thrilled to finally start something that viewers and networks have both desired for years with a game of this magnitude between two of the NFL's most storied franchises and the two largest television markets in the NFL" said Ebersol. "Both of these teams are off to tremendous starts and are potential Super Bowl contenders. This has the makings of one of the can't miss games of the season."
Madden said: "I'm a big believer in the sound of a football game � Giants-Bears, New York- Chicago � this is one of those games that just sounds like a football game. This is an old-time NFL game with real tradition and now it looks like a great game with the Bears undefeated and the Giants in first place in the toughest division in football."
The NFL this season is implementing for the first time in its history a primetime "flexible scheduling" element on Sundays in Weeks 10-15 and in Week 17 to ensure quality matchups with playoff implications in those weeks and give surprise teams a chance to play their way onto Sunday Night. The NFL will announce the flex game no later than 12 days prior, except for Week 17, which will be announced no later than six days before, to ensure that the final regular season Sunday Night game has playoff implications.
Led by 2005 AP Defensive Player of the Year LB Brian Urlacher, the Bears have reemerged as "Monsters of the Midway" surging to an undefeated 6-0 mark. Chicago has dominated both on offense and defense, leading the NFC in scoring (180) while allowing the fewest points in the conference (59).
The Giants (4-2) are in first place in the NFC East led by the running of Tiki Barber, who will make perhaps his last network primetime appearance, and the continued development of QB Eli Manning.
The Giants-Bears rivalry dates back to 1925 with the Bears holding a 26-17-2 regular season advantage. The teams last met in 2004 in New York, a 28-21 Bears victory.