It’s officially flex season in the NFL. And for the first time in a few years, games involving the Chicago Bears are candidates to be moved into prime time.
Just not in Week 7:
— NFL345 (@NFL345) October 9, 2018
OK, so this is how flexing works. From now until Week 17, the league consults its television partners (CBS, FOX, NBC) to come up with possible schedule changes for the Sunday night game played at 7:20 PM CT, as well as games moved to 3:05 PM CT and 3:25 PM CT. Should the league and its TV cohorts choose to flex games, the announcement will come no later than 12 days prior to the game.
So in this specific case, there was a possibility that the Bears-Patriots Week 7 showdown could have been flexed out of its original noon time slot, but the league chose to put Chiefs-Bengals in prime time and put the Patrick Mahomes show on display. Considering Mahomes’ popularity has the momentum of a runaway freight train and the Chiefs are a highly entertaining group with a fun offense, this makes sense. This move also gives the Patriots a break from having five consecutive prime-time games. (Oh, the horrors!!!)
Before you start filing angry emails to the NFL demanding the Bears to move to prime-time, just know there are plenty of opportunities in the weeks to come. Further, there was one flex decision that could have had the Bears in mind when it was made.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times explains why the original Week 7 Sunday Night Football game between the Rams and 49ers was flexed into a non-prime-time slot, a move that could lead to the team being flexed into one later in the season. One matchup that could intrigue the league is a Week 14 game against the Bears at Soldier Field. The Steelers-Raiders game currently scheduled for that Sunday Night Football slot might not be all that appealing when December rolls around. Instead, a game between two teams in major markets, with young and innovative head coaches, star-powered defenses, and two young quarterbacks could be enchanting to the NFL, the folks at NBC, and advertisers.
Between a 3-1 start, Khalil Mack’s dominance, Mitch Trubisky’s prospect pedigree, and the potential of getting millions of eyes from a major market hungry for a football winner, the Bears’ time in the spotlight will come … especially if they can keep things going in the right direction.