By Alan Pergament
The local TV stations gave good play to the Fox Sports report out of Wisconsin Tuesday in which a source was cited as saying the Green Bay Packers' visit to The Ralph to play the Buffalo Bills this season will be carried on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
I suppose the stations had to deal with it because in these days of social media, speculation and rumor often is presented as fact.
A Bills executive told me this morning that the team hasn't been given any information on the 2014 regular season schedule. Therefore, the team isn't aware if the Bills will get a MNF game against the Packers or anyone else. National Football League teams usually get the schedule hours before it is usually announced in mid-to-late April.
The MNF game might happen. But from years dealing with the NFL schedule, I know scheduling changes occur right up until the last minute. That's one reason I certainly wouldn't be comfortable being the source of the speculation on the schedule a week or two before the announcement.
Additionally, this year’s schedule could be even more complicated for the league to finish now that CBS is going to carry Thursday Night Football games and is expected to get a strong schedule.
An ESPN source told me this afternoon that the cable sports network doesn't get the schedule until close to when everyone else receives it and it is announced. He added that the NFL's network partners -- CBS, Fox, NBC , ESPN and The NFL Network -- ask for certain games but it doesn't mean they will get them. In addition, there may be drafts of schedules but things can change.
"Anyone who thinks that they know, doesn't know," said the ESPN source of the Bills-Packers game being on MNF.
If the Wisconsin report turns out to be accurate, it could be a blow to WUTV, the local Fox affiliate.
WUTV only gets to carry two Bills home games a year when National Conference teams like the Pack visit here and the game is a sell-out. The station certainly wouldn't want to lose a game with the Packers. ESPN's sells the broadcast rights to MNF games in local markets so WUTV could keep the game with a winning bid.