NFL VP of Broadcast Planning says 2023 schedule will make every game a “free agent” in terms of the network

The NFL has an absolutely virtuoso talent for introducing complexity into processes that don’t require additional complexity. The NFL rulebook is the best example of this — just think of all the times we’ve had real debates about what constitutes a catch.

The NFL schedule and how it’s created is complicated enough as it is. Starting next season, they’ll have even more options for where games can be broadcast, according to NFL vice president of broadcast scheduling Mike North.

“The designation of which network gets [a game] who the street team is, that part is going away,” he said on the Ari Meirov Show. “So FOX will still be mostly the NFC package and CBS will still be mostly the AFC package, but it’s not just going to be, you know, ‘CBS is going to need eight Ravens games.’ It doesn’t have to be the AFC team going for those eight games. It could be any of the Ravens’ 17 games.”

This is of course only an example. Of course, this also applies to the games of the Pittsburgh Steelers and to every other team. I’m sure we’ve all gotten used to watching Steelers games on CBS over the years. But now that the new broadcasting deals come into effect, they’ve expanded their powers to program their content.

“So now you’ve taken ‘those’ many options of what you can do with AFC teams on the road, now you’ve made it ‘THOSE’ many options,” North said, obviously gesturing bigger for the second ‘this’ . . “So every game now has more ‘home’ than it otherwise could have been, and we don’t have the limitations that we had in terms of cross-flex and primetime takeaway and the number of times each team can be taken away from CBS and FOX. Those rules are gone, so every game is a jump ball. Every game is a free agent.”

That doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to be watching the Steelers mostly on FOX or anything. The vast majority of Pittsburgh’s afternoon games will still be where you expect them to be, but now they have more options in how they can move a specific subset of those games and arrange the schedule under different names.

North admitted it would complicate the process and take longer, but they probably wouldn’t do it unless they felt it would be financially productive to do so.

I imagine this is primarily due to their ability to add more primetime slots to the NFL schedule, giving them more games that reach national audiences, giving them greater flexibility to target more attractive games to them Moving to more attractive slot machines plays a big role makes a lot of sense from a reviews point of view.

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