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Cowboys vs. Redskins on Thanksgiving, and you can't see it?

What's going on with this new television package for next season? Today the NFL sent out a press release that stated eight games next season will be shown on the NFL Network.

The eight-game package will consist of primetime games airing from Thanksgiving to the end of the regular season on Thursday and/or Saturday nights. The inaugural game of the package is scheduled for Thanksgiving night on Thursday, Nov. 23, as part of a new Thanksgiving Day tripleheader.

NFL Network will make all of its games available on free, over-the-air television in the participating team markets, continuing the NFL's long-standing practice of making all of its games, including the playoffs and Super Bowl, available on free, over-the-air television.

OK, I get most of that. These were games that were not going to be shown nationally on Saturdays or Sundays, so the local televison rule makes sense. But what about this Thanksgiving Day game that's been added? Is this new night game only going to be shown on the NFL Network and the local stations? Surely they wouldn't do that. But if that's the case and you're a Cowboys fan it might get worse.

According to the NY Times in this article that night game will be Dallas vs. Washington. From the Times:

The schedule is made up of games that would have been on Saturdays late in the season on CBS or Fox, or on those networks' regional schedules, said the executive, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the deal. The first game will be on the Thanksgiving night, between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. All games will be simulcast on local broadcast stations in the markets of the teams playing. (emphasis added)

Well there you go. All games will be simulcast on local broadcast stations in the two teams home market. So what I'm reading here is the Cowboys vs. Redskins will only be available in Dallas or Washington, D.C. or on the NFL Network. I don't think that's going to go over too well.

The San Antonio Express-News backs this up in a story it released a few hours ago.

League sources said Saturday the package will begin with the Cowboys and the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving night. All of the games will be simulcast on local stations in the teams' home markets, meaning the Cowboys-Redskins will only be broadcast in San Antonio on the NFL Network.

"We are following the same format, the same protocol that exists for games shown on ESPN," said Seth Palansky, NFL Publicity Manager/Director of Media Services.

When ESPN carries the Cowboys, the league also allows a local station in Dallas to simulcast the game. In San Antonio, it is only broadcast on ESPN.

"That's the likely scenario for this situation," Palansky said.

Come on NFL, this can't be true. I have the NFL Network so I'm covered. But there are a lot of fans who don't for whatever reason, and in some places people can't get it. Big mistake if this turns out to be true and they don't change it.

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