The 2006 NFL schedule will list start times for all Sunday games during the "flex" weeks as 1 p.m. ET, except for games played in the Mountain or Pacific Time zones, which will be listed at 4:05 p.m. ET or 4:15 p.m. ET.
The NBC Sunday night time slot for "flex" weeks will list teams as "TBD."
Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights.
Just as the six major college football conferences have done for many years, the NFL now will have additional flexibility to move the start times of games on Sundays, using a 12-day notice format.
For example, a game scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 26 could move from a 1 p.m. ET kickoff to an 8:15 p.m. start, but the change would be made and announced no later than Tuesday, Nov. 14.
The NFL has commonly moved games between 1 p.m. ET and 4:15 p.m. ET (eight times last season) on Sunday afternoons. The new practice allows the NFL to employ flexible scheduling to include one of its prime-time package of games – on Sunday evenings.
Sunday afternoon games, as in the past, can still be moved between 1 and 4:05 or 4:15 p.m. ET. In Week 17, in order to ensure a Sunday night game with playoff implications, the decision to move the start time may be made on six days notice.
CBS and FOX will each be able to protect a total of five games in the seven weeks of flexible scheduling, but not more than one game in any week.
During the 2005 regular season, the NFL conducted a study with mock flexible scheduling. An eight-person task force consisting of team executives, one from each division, was consulted on a weekly basis. In addition, television network partners and the NFL's broadcasting department participated weekly in the process.
"NFL Flexible Scheduling 101"