The NFL has until Tuesday to determine whether to use flexible scheduling to move the Seahawks matchup against the Arizona Cardinals on November 23rd into Sunday Night Football and I believe they should do so because, simply put, both teams deserve it.
Let’s look at the cases for both the Cardinals and the Seahawks to be on Sunday Night Football. Arizona currently sits at 8-1 and in the standings they are the best team in football. When the schedule came out back in the spring the Cardinals had only 3 games scheduled on national television. NFL rules allow any individual team to play a maximum of 6 games per season in primetime, so the Cardinals would qualify to play on Sunday night week 12. The Seahawks are also eligible as they were only scheduled 4 primetime games when the schedule came out.
Personally I feel that the NFL owes the 12th Man one more primetime home game. As the defending world champions, many Seahawks fans were upset that we were only scheduled one primetime home game in 2014. Many felt that we deserved the opportunity to play in primetime more than once and this opportunity would surely make up for that original scheduling snub.
This game could also have major division implications. If the Cardinals and Seahawks both win this week, the Seahawks could have the opportunity to cut the Cardinals division lead down to one game in week 12. If the Cardinals lose this week to Detroit and the Seahawks win in Kansas City, that game will be for the NFC West lead, something that I would think NBC would love to have in primetime.
One reason why flexing this game could be unlikely is because these two teams are already scheduled to play on Sunday Night Football in Arizona week 16. It may be considered unlikely that NBC would be allowed to broadcast both Cardinals/Seahawks games this season. It also seems unlikely that FOX would miss out on the opportunity to broadcast the game in Seattle even though FOX did not protect the week 12 matchup. It has happened before however. FOX missed out on both Seahawks/49ers games in 2012; one went to NFL Network for Thursday Night Football and the other matchup, which was played in Seattle, was flexed to NBC to be played on Sunday Night Football.
The point of flexible scheduling is to replace a lesser matchup with one of significant importance. The current SNF matchup week 12 has the 7-3 Dallas Cowboys heading to New York to take on the 3-6 New York Giants. Honestly you cannot tell me a matchup featuring a combined record of 10-9 deserves to be on Sunday Night Football over a matchup featuring the 9-1 Cardinals and the 6-3 Seahawks. The only argument the National Football League can make to keep Cowboys/Giants in primetime is the “media market argument.” Rarely does the NFL want to flex out a matchup featuring one of the most popular franchises in football and the number one media market in the country. The league may find this reason to be completely valid but if you ask football fans around the country I am sure the majority would disagree. I believe it would be completely hypocritical of the NFL to keep this game in primetime, as it goes against what they state flexible scheduling is all about, for “teams to play their way into primetime.” That is exactly what I believe the Cardinals and Seahawks have done. They absolutely deserve the right to play on Sunday Night Football in week 12 instead of the Cowboys and Giants.