Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Revisit: Starting Times

A few months ago I mentioned how the starting times for professional sporting events has become insane for those of us who live on the East Coast.

This was during the NBA Finals, where games were heading into halftime at 10:30 p.m. on a weekday. I had come up with a sort of plan to accommodate both parties: Move the start times up and both parties can finish the game.

My question posed was simple: Are you more inclined to watch a game that you missed the start of, or watch a game that you have no possible way of seeing the conclusion of?

For many of the major sporting events, this question still rings true. However, something else has come to my attention - that at least for one sport, and for the regular season, almost everyone can be happy.

For the past few seasons, Monday Night Football on ESPN has given us something special. During the first week there are two Monday Night Football games: one features teams located closer to the East Coast, while the second has teams located more towards the West Coast.

Last night, the Green Bay Packers took on the Minnesota Vikings and the game started at 7 p.m. EST. Again, this start time is difficult for the West Coast, but for most of them interested they can still see the most of the game - including the conclusion. The game wrapped up at 10:30 p.m. which is pretty reasonable. As soon as the game concluded, the second game featuring the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders began: another Monday Night Football game, this time for the West Coast.

My question is pretty simple again: Why can't we do this every week?

Most Monday Night Football games begin on or around 9 p.m. to accommodate everyone. And again, for those of us who work in the mornings during the week, we can't finish the game unless we can function on very little sleep.

They (ESPN) already have enough of a crew to put on two Monday Night Football games. And the team of Mike (Greenburg), Mike (Golic) and Mike (Ditka) is pretty impressive calling the game as well. I really don't see the down side here. Each coast gets their own Monday Night game.
The only people who are going to suffer are those on the East Coast who have a rooting interest for a team in the late Monday Night Football game, and stay up to watch it. Or, for the Must-Watch-All-Football Guy, who has to watch anything football on television. Other than that, I don't see anyone complaining about this.

Each week there is at least one game being played on the West Coast. Why not move one of those 1 p.m. Sunday games to Monday night? It's not like everyone is able to watch every game anyway.

It's just one man's opinion. But, I think it's a pretty good one.


  1. I'm on the West Coast, and I endorse the two MNF games/week. It makes (just about) everyone happy.

    My major bitch for the NFL is the disparity of 10am/1pm games (1:00/4:00 for you, I'm guessing). I have Sunday Ticket from DirecTV, and every week, there are roughly 9 early games and 3 late games. Now, I know there are fewer West Coast teams than East Coast teams overall, but you're telling me it would kill everyone to start a couple early games a few hours later? These aren't night games we're talking about.

    It's a minor quibble, but the weird split has never made a ton of sense to me.

  2. I totally agree with that. And yes, it is 1 and 4 here. The 1 p.m games have way too many - and 4 p.m. not enough. They should be mixed a lot better than that.

    I miss my Sunday Ticket, but DirecTV was seriously screwing me up here. I am a Steelers fan, and it was difficult not watching them this week.

  3. Don't feel too bad. I'm a 49er fan...it was difficult watching them.