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NFL

CBS Spares Selected Markets End Of Steelers-Ravens

A screenshot saying that the broadcast is ending
Image: WTSP-TV in St. Petersburg, Florida

The most consequential NFL game in the early window today was Steelers at Ravens. With a win, either team could reach the playoffs if other results fell their way. Both teams got a good result in a simultaneous game, too, with the Jaguars routing the Colts. A Steelers loss would likely end Ben Roethlisberger’s career.

Unfortunately, the game itself was kind of a crapfest. Roethlisberger threw for 5.5 yards per attempt, while Ravens fill-in QB Tyler Huntley “topped” that with 4.5 YPA. Still, the teams played a close one. A Chase Claypool TD gave the Steelers the lead in the fourth; the Ravens tied it on a Justin Tucker field goal. The game went to OT. A crapfest can be interesting, even if the game isn’t good. Making this overtime extra-interesting was this: A tie would eliminate both teams from the playoffs. This was something you wanted to see, if only to gawk at the horror.

Well, too bad! With under three minutes left in OT and both offenses sputtering, markets like Boston, New York City, Tampa, et cetera, were rudely flipped away due to “contractual obligations” to show the first quarter of, for example, Jets-Bills or Patriots-Dolphins or Panthers-Buccaneers (which was flexed from Fox).

Here’s WCBS-TV in New York’s broadcast of the Steelers game cutting away.

Not long after the game cut away, the Steelers converted a fourth down. A few plays later, Chris Boswell’s field goal gave Pittsburgh a 16-13 win. The Pittsburgh win eliminated Baltimore and Indianapolis from the playoff hunt. And the Steelers are basically in now: A loss by either the Raiders or the Chargers would put them in the playoffs, and Las Vegas plays Los Angeles tonight.

Ah, but: If the Raiders and Chargers tie, both those teams would qualify for the playoffs and Pittsburgh would be out. So, yes, after the kickoff, a team could just snap the ball and stand around for 15 minutes, if the opponents cooperated. Another snap that way and it’s halftime. Do that again and it’s overtime. The game could be done in about 90 minutes—including the halftime break—and five total plays from scrimmage and both teams would advance to the playoffs.

Maybe this is too much to ask for. Instead, the teams could simply take turns kneeling on every snap.

Obviously, this would be a gross insult to paying customers. OK, so, the game is in Vegas—people there must be used to throwing away money. But I also believe it would not be in the good spirit of a sporting competition. Which is why: It absolutely needs to happen. Oh, man, it would be amazing. Please let it happen!

Rats. We could’ve had something special. I now think that Nick Sirianni deserves coach of the year over Staley.