Shmuck of the Week: Whoever's making us watch the Raiders-Redskins game

Thumbnail image for nfl map.jpg
Yellow = Redskins vs. Raiders. Lucky us, eh? (See the maps here).
Before you start: Yes, I know I could actually leave my house on Sunday, and I could no doubt find a cozy booth within viewing proximity of a TV armed with the NFL Ticket. And in times of need -- when the TV Gods bestow on me an afternoon involving the Lions, for instance -- I will.

But it's always preferable to watch football on your own couch, with your own remote and your own oversized chip bowl, all of which are by now, in Week 14, contoured to accommodate your ever-expanding self. That's why, every week around this time, I visit this site to learn which NFL games will be shown in Denver.

Is it just me, or are the results always eye-stabbingly disappointing?

Before we go any further, it's helpful to understand the rules that govern what games can be shown where. There are lots of them, but here's the key passage (from noted expert Professor Wiki P. Edia):

The NFL rules prohibit other NFL games from being shown on local television stations while a local team is playing a sold-out home game. The rules are designed to make sure ticket-holders show up at the stadium instead of watching the other game on TV. When the home team is being shown on the network with the NFL singleheader, the doubleheader station can only air one of its games. So when this happens, there are only two games shown in the market. When, however, the home team is being shown on the network with the NFL doubleheader, all three games can air in the market.

If I'm not mistaken (I suspect you'll tell me if I am), this means that with the Broncos on the road in Indianapolis -- a CBS telecast -- Fox has the right to air whatever game it wants on Sunday. And what game did the network, likely at the request of the local affiliate, select? Raiders-fucking-Redskins. Not the Saints trying to stay undefeated against a division rival. Not the Patriots fighting for a playoff spot. Hell, I'd rather they show the Titans-Rams game and just black the game out whenever the Rams get the ball.

But no: The Raiders. And the Redskins. Two teams who (despite late-season flashes of subdued mediocrity) have throughout this season looked hardly more capable than a lousy high school team. Whhhhhyyyyyyy???????

No, seriously, why? Do you know? I'll give you a Westword wristband and seven copies of this week's issue (think about all the medical marijuana you can buy!) if you tell me why this is.

My best guess is that someone at the local Fox affiliate either has Jason Campbell in a PPI (points-per-interception) Fantasy League, or TV executives are under the entirely false impression that Broncos fans want to watch their division rivals at all costs. That would explain, however poorly, why Denverites were subjected to watching the Chargers play the Chiefs in Week 12 while most everyone else watched the Colts fight for their undefeated lives against the Texans.

That choice was almost acceptable. You could argue that watching two division rivals, including an entirely watchable Chargers team, is more pleasurable than watching the Texans fold up like a Windermere cocktail waitress. But subjecting us to the Raiders and the Redskins? That's just cruel.

If I wasn't too busy surfing J-Date for a nice fellow with the NFL Ticket, I'd start a petition or something. Instead: I'm naming the offending Fox-affiliate grunt our Shmuck of the Week. May he rot in hell, also known as "a crowded liquor-less bar airing a never-ending Rams-Lions game. Called by Joe Buck, of course."

Meet more shmucks in our Shmuck of the Week archive.

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