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The NFL league office is properly paying full respect and attention to Damar Hamlin while privately considering how/when to finish its regular season and begin the post-season.
Here’s a thought:
· Play ten Week 18 games, including Patriots-Bills and Ravens-Bengals, this weekend.
· Play the other six next weekend plus a resumption of Bills-Bengals. Call it Week 19.
· Only the Bills and Bengals will play both Week 18 and 19.
With ten games, all television commitments can be filled in Week 18. Unchanged will be the currently scheduled Saturday games, late Sunday afternoon doubleheader games and Sunday night game. The 1pm Sunday games will be limited to Patriots-Bills and Ravens-Bengals.
This revision simply results in FOX and CBS, in their 1pm Sunday time period, will be regionalizing two games instead of eight. Because advertisers pay according to broadcast windows, no revenue is lost by the networks. And given the appeal of Patriots-Bills and Ravens-Bengals, ratings are sure to be strong.
The six games postponed from Week 18 plus the resumption of Bills-Bengals will form the Week 19 schedule. All seven are hosted at sites in the Eastern and Central time so they can be played simultaneously in the 1 pm ET Sunday window. (There will be no Saturday games, no late Sunday afternoon game, no Sunday night, no Monday night.) ESPN will be permitted to roll its remaining commercials from the interrupted Monday night game. In the other six games, however, no commercials will be aired.
Nobody should profit from the rescheduling of these six games. This can be a national viewing event, bringing the football community together in support of Damar Hamlin. In-game television breaks can be reduced and programmed with well-produced vignettes of Damar’s life, tributes from family/friends and prayers for him.
Begin the playoffs one week late. Eliminate the dark week between championship games and Super Bowl.