UNDEFEATED PATRIOTS AT BILLS SELECTED TO 'FLEX' TO 'NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL,' NOV. 18
First Buffalo Visit For NFL's Premier Primetime Package
"This is the best team I've ever seen." � "Football Night's" Cris Collinsworth on the Patriots
NEW YORK � November 5, 2007 � The National Football League today announced its first "flexible scheduling" game of the season, the New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills game on November 18, previously listed for 1 p.m. ET, was selected to be moved to Sunday Night Football, an 8:15 p.m. ET kickoff on NBC.
The Patriots are the NFL's only remaining undefeated team, moving to 9-0 with a come-from-behind 24-20 victory over the previously undefeated Indianapolis Colts in the much-hyped "Super Bowl 41.5." Pats quarterback Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes in the win giving him 33 for the season, on pace for 59 which would shatter Peyton Manning's NFL record of 49.
"The Patriots quest for a perfect season is clearly the biggest story in the NFL," said Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal, Sports & Olympics. "It's also been 13 years since the NFL's premier primetime game visited Buffalo and it will be quite a scene there."
The Bills have won four of the their last five games after starting their season 0-3, to improve to 4-4 and move into the AFC playoff picture. Sunday, Buffalo defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 33-21, with Marshawn Lynch rushing for 153 yards.
SHUFFLING OFF TO BUFFALO:
The last time the NFL's premier primetime network franchise (ABC's MNF 1970-2005, NBC's SNF 2006-present) traveled to Buffalo was in Week 4 of the 1994 season when Al Michaels, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf called the Denver Broncos at Bills game for ABC's Monday Night Football. The Bills last played on ABC's Monday Night Football Dec. 11, 2000 when they visited the Indianapolis Colts.
"FOOTBALL NIGHT'S" CRIS COLLINSWORTH ON PATRIOTS:
"To be perfectly honest, this is the best team I've ever seen."
"This could be the year the champagne doesn't flow in Miami � the annual event when the last undefeated team gets beaten and the '72 Dolphins do a little toast. The Patriots could go undefeated."
VIEWERS FLOCK TO PATRIOTS:
New England has played in the two most-viewed games of the 2007 NFL season. Yesterday's Patriots-Colts game earned a 22.4 overnight rating and a 39 share topping the Patriots-Cowboys game from Oct. 14, which drew an 18.5/35 overnight.
This Sunday night, the Colts travel to San Diego to meet the Chargers on "NBC Sunday Night Football."
The 2007 NFL schedule will utilize flexible scheduling in Weeks 11-17. In those weeks, the schedule will list the games tentatively scheduled for Sunday night on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game will 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 will be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the move may be announced six days before the game. Flexible scheduling will ensure quality matchups on Sunday night in those weeks and give surprise teams a chance to play their way onto primetime.
As an indication of the success of the inaugural year of flex scheduling, three of the final four games on NBC achieved ratings more than 20 percent higher than the comparable games in 2005.