More (or less) on what happened Sunday with the Raiders-to-Chargers switcheroo

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More questions, and some answers, from NFL TV spokesman Dan Masonson after KCBS Channel 2 questionably left the Raiders-Bills game with 27 seconds remaining and the final score in doubt and went to 90 seconds of commercials and promo before joining the start of the Chargers-Patroits game at 1:15 p.m on Sunday:

Q: Do you think there’s someone, based on 20/20 hindsight, who might be able to address this situation? Where did the switch occur, and was it automated, or done by a person following orders?

A: The switch was made by CBS which was following the NFL’s secondary market TV policy which states that Los Angeles is a secondary market for the Chargers. All secondary markets must carry in their entirety all road games of their local team. Los Angeles has been a secondary market for the Chargers for at least the past 35 years.

Q: Who can explain why it benefits L.A. to be a secondary-market team of the Chargers if these kinds of things happen?

A: This is based on location of the market – the Los Angeles TV affiliates’ signals reach within 75 miles of the Chargers stadium. This benefits Chargers fans in the Los Angeles area who were counting on watching Chargers-Patriots in its entirety.

Q: Can someone explain more protocol on why this happened, versus a forward-thinking person making a judgment based on the fact that an L.A. viewer just invested three hours of watching a game they weren’t allowed to see end?

Q: The policy here is not Los Angeles-centric. The same switch to the later game happened in primary and secondary markets for all road teams playing on CBS at 4:15 PM ET on Sunday. This switch follows a TV policy which promises to show road games of the local team in their entirety. If the Chargers had scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game, the team’s fans in the Los Angeles market would have missed a key play for a game they were told they were going to get in its entirety.

Q: Here’s another way to look at it: ESPN’s policy is to stay with a game until it ends. They may direct viewers to another channel (ESPN2, or Classic or whatever) for the start of a game that’s coming up and overlapping. Could CBS have moved the start of the Chargers-Patriots to CBS Sports Network cable channel?

A: NFL policy is to stay with the game you start through to its conclusion, unless a switch is necessary to show the local team’s game in its entirety. ESPN shows a single game in a national window. That’s different from the situation we are talking about with a regionalized game on broadcast television, so switching to a cable outlet is not an option.

Q: Could there have been a split screen — like CBS has done with the NCAA tournament?

A: No.

Q: What happens in the future if this comes up again — there are two more cases where CBS has a doubleheader and the Chargers have a road game that starts at 1:15 p.m.? It’s a huge disservice to L.A. viewers — whether or not they follow the Raiders still — if there’s no credible explanation.

A: When situations like this arise in the future, we will take a look at them. We always review our policies and seek ways to improve them. But keep in mind that we have to balance many different factors and conflicting audience desires.

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