Cowboys are on CBS this week; will you get the game?

Most Cowboys games are televised on Fox each week, with a handful getting special national coverage (NBC, BSPN, and NFL Network). But, there is a phenomenon that happens up to two times a year, and it often causes last-minute scrambling.

Every year, the Cowboys play four games against an AFC division - two on the road and two at home. When an AFC team visits the Cowboys, the default network is CBS.

Why can this be troublesome?


The "normal" Fox television patterns are fairly regular. If you live in an area where the Cowboys are regularly shown on your local Fox station, then you don't worry about checking each week. And, because of the America's Team glamour, many games are featured as "America's Game of the Week" when it's Fox's turn to show a doubleheader (we get a lot of Joe, Troy, and Pam).

The Cowboys have two CBS games this year - this week against Buffalo and on Thanksgiving against the Dolphins. The Thanksgiving game is no trouble for you to see - it is nationally televised throughout the country. But, what about this week?

In some years, a marquee matchup at home against an AFC team will get a national slot (CBS doubleheader game, or picked up by another network for national exposure). But, this week's game is different. Look at how the stars align for this week:

  • This is Fox's doubleheader week, so CBS is only allowed to show one regional game
  • Areas where CBS regularly features one team are likely to get that team again this week
  • Areas where Fox regularly features one team are likely to get that team; the local CBS station will pick up a game in the opposite time slot in order to get better ratings (that's why many of you will get Baltimore-Seattle; it's the only CBS regional game with a late kickoff)

I have mentioned before on my FanPosts about KD's 10-for-10 contest that some of the guys in my church band are huge Texans fans (and no lovers of the Cowboys). They are going to be disappointed when they go home from church, change into their Texans gear, sit down in front of their televisions, and see... COWBOYS!

In Texas, most CBS stations are choosing to show the Cowboys this week. The only stations in Texas showing the Texans instead are in Houston, Beaumont, Bryan-College Station, Laredo, and Harlingen (Rio Grande Valley). Many Cowboys fans there will be disappointed, because they always get the Cowboys on Fox each week.

I know that many of you living away from The Holy City subscribe to packages (Sunday Ticket, NFL, ReWind, etc.), but many of you may be surprised when you find that you won't be able to watch the Cowboys this week.

At the risk of "FanShot" from thebigham, let me give you a link to a great site that O.C.C. provided us last month and that KD mentioned this week in his links column. Each week, overlays and color-codes three US maps with local market coverage of every Fox/CBS game. They are Google maps, so they can be scrolled and zoomed. If you click on any colored spot, a popup will show the local station and originating city with the game being shown.

Also on this site, they list the announcers that are assigned to the game. Many of us take note of which crew gets the Cowboys each week. We actually get the CBS "A" Team (Jim Nantz and Chris Simms) this week, after getting scrubs last week on Fox's telecast of the Seahawks game.

A word of clarification about the gray sections ("no game due to NFL rules"). The NFL rules that permit lifting a blackout and televising a team's home game in its home market also only require that game to be the only game shown during that time slot. For example, the Cowboys are at home and playing an early game on CBS. Fox is not permitted to televise an early game in the Dallas-Fort Worth local market. So, there is no game in the early slot, and only the single game in the late slot. The same is true for the Chiefs, Colts, and Panthers.

Seattle is the only team playing a late game at home on CBS. So, they are the only local market that is not televising a Fox late game. Their Fox game is early.

In local markets where teams are playing home games that are on Fox, the CBS station is merely televising a regional game in the opposite slot.

If you live in an area that doesn't regularly get the Cowboys game, let me encourage you to bookmark and return to each week. There is also information farther down on the page offering regional coverage of NCAA football games - including networks and announcing teams. Want to see where Brent Musberger will be on Saturday? Verne Lundquist? It's there as well.

Also - sometimes stations switch from one game to another game. This site is updated when those changes take place. Already, five markets that were originally scheduled to carry the Cowboys have dropped them for a different game (Reno, San Francisco, San Diego, Birmingham, and Mobile).

This FanPost grew out of a long comment I posted on another thread. I will end this one the same way I ended that comment:

With this early warning (this weekend is different, and is the only one of its kind this season), fans can be prepared, and not come home from church and lose their religion because the Cowboys aren’t on their TV.

If you’re prepared, then you won’t be bombarding the Game Thread looking for links to the bootleg virus-laden internet streams to watch the game.

Oh, here’s that link as well.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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