NFL flexes, to move Bears-Giants to Sunday night

Updated: October 25, 2006, 12:24 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The Chicago Bears' game against the New York Giants at the Meadowlands on Nov. 12 was switched Tuesday by the NFL from an afternoon to a night game, the first under the flexible scheduling format implemented in the new television contract.

The 8:15 p.m. ET game will be televised by NBC instead of Fox. Under the format, the Sunday night time slot had been left vacant, with CBS and Fox each allowed to protect five afternoon games over seven weeks of the season. Each has chosen four and will pick one more.

No Sunday night game had been on the original schedule for the seven weeks of flexible scheduling.

However, Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC sports, said during a conference call Tuesday that the NFL had reserved one game for each of the seven weeks that could not be protected by the other two networks. League officials indicated that the Bears-Giants game was the one for the week of Nov. 12.

"The game was never formally announced," Ebersol said. "It couldn't be protected by the other networks. That's never been announced and the NFL asked us never to confirm what those games are. I will say that it's comforting some weeks to know there's a game, no matter what, if we want it, it's ours."

Chicago (6-0) is one of two unbeaten teams in the NFL and will be favored to be 8-0 when it goes to Giants Stadium. The Bears' next two games are at home against San Francisco (2-4) and Miami (1-6).

The Giants (4-2) have won three straight, including Monday night's 36-22 win in Dallas, and lead the NFC East. Their next two games are at home against Tampa Bay and Houston, both 2-4.

As part of the schedule shuffle, New Orleans' game at Pittsburgh will be moved from a 1 p.m. ET start to 4:15 on Fox.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press