NBC broadcaster Al Michaels will be spared from hearing an encore performance of "loudest manure chant [he's] ever heard."
Fans in Baltimore are still chanting "manure," but this time it's over a decision from the league office, not an official as it was back in Week 3 last season. On Tuesday, the league announced that the Week 16 prime time matchup between the Patriots and Ravens had been flexed in favor of the Bears traveling to Philadelphia to face the Eagles.
Outside of Baltimore, the frustration of the fan base and their "manure" chants are falling on deaf ears.
For the NFL and NBC, this is simply a
ratings money move and nothing else. Simply put, the Ravens will rarely win the market matchup and if teams like those in Chicago and Philadelphia are even somewhat relevant, they'll be favored each and every time.
In the network's eyes, this is a safe move as both the Eagles and Bears will be in the hunt for their division regardless of what happens this weekend. However, for the Ravens, who have to travel to Detroit to face the Lions on Monday night, a loss could be more detrimental for their playoff aspirations.
What NBC and NFL executives failed to see is that they're likely choosing for a less entertaining product. Why would you even consider flexing this game out given the matchups between the Ravens and Patriots in the past three seasons? Aside from the Ravens 28-13 win over the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game last year, their other three contests have been decided by a collective total of seven points.
Is it more entertaining than Philadelphia hooligans peppering Santa Claus with Duracell batteries? That's debatable, but you know you're going to get a good game out of the Ravens and Patriots — especially with how much these teams hate each other.
In all actuality, the Ravens getting flexed doesn't matter. This is going to be a war, regardless of where the game is played or what time they kickoff. Once again, Ravens fans feel slighted and disrespected that their city and proud fan base isn't getting showcased, but in the end, it's not that big of a deal.
Truthfully, I'm more surprised that they chose to take Tom Brady and his quarterbacking diva persona off of prime time. Now you really know that league and NBC executives weren't thinking.