By Ken Foote, CBSDFW.COM

Well, it’s that time of year… the return of the NFL regular season!

This year, CBS 11 will again bring the best of the AFC with teams such as the Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots. I thought it would be a good idea to remind our viewers about the games we air and the NFL rules and regulations we are bound by.

First and foremost, the weekly game assignments are determined by the networks. A station may request a different game if they feel strongly about an alternative match, but it is not always granted. So, we do not pick the weekly games unilaterally and arbitrarily. Sometimes the changes are granted, others times they are not. We use a committee here to discuss the game assignments and then decide if what we have been assigned is OK or whether we would like to swap out. At the end of the day though, the networks generally have the final say. CBS 11 airs a variety of different matchups, but it does not default to one specific team based on geographical proximity to the DFW area. We just want the best games!

Secondly, being an AFC station in an NFC market, there are weekends that CBS or FOX will have a doubleheader nationally, but if the Dallas Cowboys play at home, NFL rules prohibit a station from airing another game up against the home team. It’s called the NFL Home Market Rule and has been in existence for over 50 years. So, during this time, a station must schedule local programming.

The NFL also has a rule called the ‘flex rule.’ This means that for a non-home market team playing at a given time, usually from noon to 3:00 p.m., if one team has an 18 point advantage over its opponent at the start of the 3rd quarter, the networks can move or ‘flex’ certain stations to a different and more competitive game. The local stations cannot move themselves, only the networks. In addition, once a station has been moved, it cannot return to the original game it was moved from, even if it later becomes competitive.

‘Folding’ is a process of having stations moved to other games that are in progress when the game you are seeing has finished. It is more commonly seen in the late afternoon games so that the networks can get all of their stations on the same feed.

A ‘popup’ occurs when a station is blacked out, generally in the late game, but is required to rejoin the network in prime. By doing so, instead of seeing the program scheduled at, say, 6:00 p.m., the viewer sees a game in progress that the station was not allowed to carry earlier in the day due to NFL rules.

Starting this weekend, “The Jason Garrett Show” premieres at 11:05 p.m. on CBS 11 and “Cowboys Game Day With Randy White” premieres Sunday at 10:30 a.m., right before “The NFL Today” On CBS. On TXA 21, “Cowboys Weekend” premieres this Sunday at 11:00 a.m. On the radio side, you can hear all the Dallas Cowboys games on our station 105.3 The Fan, KRLD-FM… in crystal clear stereo beaming 100,000 watts of power! And CBS 11 is the Official Dallas Cowboys Station.

Enjoy the games this season! See you next time.

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