Winter Storm Wreaks Havoc w/ NFL Schedule

***UPDATE #3*** I assume my readers already know this, but just for sake of completeness: the game has been moved to Ford Field in Detroit.  Kickoff will be 7:20 EST Monday night.  For those that haven’t seen it yet I suggest you check out this footage of the roof of the Metrodome collapsing early this morning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxuxNLf87_Y

I haven’t heard much discussion of this yet, but I wonder if that can be fixed in time for the Vikings next home game?  They might have to finish the season at the home of the Gophers.  Or play essentially an outdoor game at the Metrodome.

***UPDATE #2*** The Giants @ Vikings game will be at 8pm EST Monday and will be seen on Fox in New York and Minneapolis.  The entire country will see the regularly scheduled Ravens/Texans game on ESPN at 8:40pm.  At this time I don’t know if the ESPN game will be blacked out in the Twin Cities area per normal NFL TV rules, and the League is, according to Peter King, still researching whether the Vikings game will be available nationally on Sunday Ticket.  Also, the reports are that the game was postponed not due to the Giants travel issues, but rather because of snow on the roof of the Metrodome that was causing leaks, and that the high winds is not permitting workers to get up there and clear said roof.  A Vikings official has reportedly stated that the facility is structurally sound, however.

***UPDATE*** The NFL has announced the game has been moved to Monday.  Start time and television arrangements still pending.  Does this mean they are considering a late afternoon game that could be on Fox?  My assumption still is it’ll be a night game which would be televising rights with ESPN (see 2nd paragraph below).

Specifically, with the scheduled 1pm EST kickoff for the Giants @ Vikings game.  15 inches of snow have closed the Twin Cities airport and the Giants flight in was diverted to Kansas City; the Giants will be spending Saturday night there and hoping to fly to Minnesota first thing Sunday morning.  I just checked nfl.com and the article they have says the League is monitoring the situation and for now the plan is still to play the game at 1pm, and the maps on the506.com still reflect that.  I’m sure Fox is trying to keep this schedule as this is the game it assigned Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to.  However, I am seeing unconfirmed reports on Twitter, specifically a retweet by the506, that the game has been moved to Monday Night.  I would assume that the Giants can’t be excited about the thought of waking up at dawn, flying an hour, getting bussed on icy roads from the airport to the stadium, maybe not having time to do a proper and full pregame routine before playing the game.  The Vikings are only tangentially still alive, but every game down the stretch is crucially important for the Giants who are in a pitched battle to get to the postseason.  And, quite frankly, I can’t figure the Vikings are anxious to try and play this game while local authorities are trying to dig the region out from under this storm.  That could be a p.r. disaster if its found, or even just perceived, that resources were diverted to roads and parking areas around the Metrodome instead of region-wide priorities.  And then there is the little side issue of one more day of rest making it somewhat more likely that Favre can keep his consecutive games streak going; if he starts this game and the next two he gets it to a nice even 300 games.

If the game is pushed to Monday Night carriage rights would go to ESPN.  What would likely happen is the game would be televised using the Fox production on ESPN in the Twin Cities and New York while the rest of the country would get the scheduled Baltimore @ Houston matchup.  I doubt that the reverse game would be available on NFL Sunday Ticket and I doubt that ESPN would show the reverse game on any of its other platforms, though it would be handy if it were available on ESPN3.com at least.  Also, being the Buck/Aikman game, a large number of Fox stations would have to scramble for a different game to show at the last minute.  My hunch is the Upper Midwest would pick up Green Bay @ Detroit at 1pm, Texas and the lower Plains would get St. Louis @ New Orleans at 4:o5pm, the Appalachians in the south would also get the Saints while the more northern Appalachians along with the Northeast would get Tampa @ Washington at 1pm, and the Rockies would get a 4:05 game, either the Saints or Seattle @ San Francisco.  However, there would likely be individual stations that deviate from that rubric.  Locally, my hunch is Fox Wheeling will show the Redskins and Fox Youngstown, given that their market share at 1pm was going to get killed by the Steelers and Browns both playing in 1pm games on CBS, will wait until 4:05pm to show the Saints game or the 49ers game.  But that is conjecture on my part, like I said above the maps on the506.com, which is what I rely on, still having the Vikings at 1pm.  If I see an update while I’m still online tonight I will post it here.

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