Schedule Full of Perks and Quirks

Let's face it, the first thing you want to know about the Eagles schedule is when Dallas comes to town and brings Terrell Owens with them. Or is it, when Terrell Owens comes to town and brings the Cowboys with him?

Remember in Rocky how Apollo Creed came riding into the Spectrum dressed as Uncle Sam to celebrate his July 4th fight against Rocky Balboa? Maybe Terrell Owens can ride into Lincoln Financial Field dressed as Santa Claus (insert your own snowball throwing joke here) when the Cowboys visit Philadelphia on Christmas Day.

The schedule makers gave Philadelphia somewhat of a present in the arrival of Owens to the city that will likely forever hate the very mention of his name. Perhaps they should have had the 'boys come to town before there was much chance of snow being on the ground.

The meeting in Philadelphia will be the second between the two teams, with the Eagles playing in Dallas sometime before the Christmas Day game, which will highlight Week 16 of the NFL schedule.

The rest of the schedule will be announced later today by the NFL.

One quirk in the schedule is that the NFL will introduce so-called flexible scheduling. For weeks 10 through 15 and for week 17, the NFL will have all Sunday games listed as afternoon games, but will designate which game will be played Sunday night no less than 12 days before the scheduled game. In week 17, they will have to announce the night game six days before the contest and no games will be moved in week 16 (Christmas weekend).

The NFL will notify teams as soon as their game has been eliminated from consideration for the Sunday night broadcast and in a change from the past, teams will now be allowed to be featured on back-to-back Sunday nights.

The change will allow NBC, which enters back into carrying NFL games with their Sunday night broadcasts, to have the best possible games. The one catch for them is that CBS and FOX can each protect five games over the final seven weeks to keep them on their schedule rather than letting NBC have them. CBS and FOX can protect no more than one game per week among the games that they choose. In other words, if the Eagles and Cowboys were to meet Week 10 in Dallas, FOX could protect that and four other games between weeks 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17.

Phew, that was tough.

The bottom line is that the NFL television contracts are getting tougher to figure as the league revamps their broadcast schedules to incorporate ESPN, FOX, CBS, NBC and of course, the NFL Network.

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