When the 2019 NFL season rolls around, there will be a couple of changes that the general population might not care all too much about, but we as football fans will find anything to talk about and analyze.
The NFL announced on Wednesday that the “single-header blackout rule” is a thing of the past, and every market will be shown three games on Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM. If you don’t know how the rule previously worked, here’s an example:
When the Seattle Seahawks played a home game on the singleheader network at 1:05 PM PT, old television rules required that the 1:25 PM PT doubleheader game on the other network could not be shown in the Seattle market (which encompasses a 75-mile radius from CenturyLink Field). So if Seattle had 1:05 PM PT home games, that meant the television market was restricted to just the 10 AM game on the doubleheader network, and the Seahawks game on the singleheader network. That’s it.
Now, if the Seahawks have a 1:05 PM PT home game, those in the Seattle market will be able to flick over and see the national doubleheader game on the opposite network. This is especially great news in places such as the Bay Area, New York City, the Washington DC area, and Los Angeles, as all of those markets have multiple teams taking up both Sunday morning/afternoon slots.
In other news, the 2020 NFL Divisional Round will not feature any 10 AM kickoffs. While the Saturday games will remain in the 1:30 PM/5:15 PM windows, the Sunday matchups have been pushed back from 10 AM/1:30 PM PT to 12 PM/3:30 PM PT. This also mirrors the Sunday kickoff times for Conference Championship weekend, so this is all for the sake of improving ratings.
Lastly and least importantly, there will be only four commercial breaks per quarter in the Super Bowl, as opposed to five. I guess that’s cool.