I'm looking at a website that quickly has become one of my favorites ever since it was recommended to me by Tampa Bay media-relations guru Jonathan Grella a month or so ago. It's called the506.com and it provides a weekly map of what games will be shown where throughout the entire country.
I make it a point to check each week where the NFC South teams will get exposure and, as I often am, I was a little flabbergasted and disappointed when I looked at this week's map.
New Orleans at Baltimore, the game I'll be covering in person, sure looks like a marquee matchup to me. When you look at the map, it's the green game. Problem is you have to squint pretty hard to find the green that shows you where the game will be shown. Kind of ironic because the dominance of red and blue on the map made me back up from the computer.
In a nutshell, the Saints and Ravens are going to be shown in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Maryland and extreme western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. Oh, and there's one little green splotch down in Florida -- basically the Tampa Bay market, where I leave and the Bucs and Lions will be blacked out on local television.
We'll leave Tampa Bay's attendance issues alone for the moment because we've talked about that all year and you wouldn't expect a visit from the Lions to change in anything. But, let's go back to the red and blue games because that's where I see some real issues.
We'll give the red game a little slack because it involves the Eagles and the Giants and that's not a bad matchup. But, is it that much better than the Saints and Ravens? I don't think so, but the Eagles and Giants are basically being shown from coast to coast.
But what really makes me see red is the blue game. That is the Cowboys and the Redskins. I get it that Dallas and Washington are big markets and, once upon a time, the Cowboys and Redskins were actually relevant in the world.
Not sure about you, but if I lived in someplace like San Antonio, I think I'd head to Louisiana for the weekend and check into a hotel just to watch the Saints and Ravens.
And let's not forget about the Falcons, the team with the NFC's best record. They're playing at Seattle in a late-afternoon game, but that's not exactly going to get big play. It's the orange game on the map and it looks like it will air in the Pacific Northwest, Georgia and parts of its adjoining states and a few little pockets in the Midwest.
After all, the rest of the country will be watching those classic tilts between the Broncos and Raiders and the Jets and Steelers in that time slot. No offense intended to the Steelers, but I'd rather watch the Falcons than the Broncos, Raiders and Jets.
One last thing, on a positive note, it looks like the game between the Cardinals and Panthers will be shown only in North Carolina, Arizona and portions of South Carolina. Sounds about right and I feel a little bad for the friends I have in those states. But the guy I feel worst for might be FOX television's John Lynch, who has to announce this classic showdown between Jimmy Clausen and John Skelton.
I covered Lynch for a big chunk of his career and there aren't many nicer guys out there. What did Lynch do to deserve this one?